Errors bite Lions in River City Baseball Festival opener

Lawrence High’s baseball team hasn’t had much success in the River City Baseball Festival in the past few years. That didn’t change against Lee’s Summit (Mo.) West on Thursday night at Kansas University’s Hoglund Ballpark.

The Titans showed their strength in every phase of the game, with 12 hits, strong pitching and solid defense. The Lions committed five errors and were held to just three hits in a 12-1 drubbing.

“One through nine, those guys can rake,” LHS coach Brad Stoll said. “They’ve got little guys that can hit, they’ve got big guys that can hit, they’ve got everybody in between that can hit. I mean, that’s an impressive baseball team.”

The Titans scored four runs in the second inning against Lions right-handed starter Bryce Montes de Oca. Though they didn’t make solid contact, hitting a few bloop singles into the outfield, they extended the inning by reaching on bunts and two LHS errors.

“I hate (the bunts). It’s right there,” Montes de Oca said. “It’s not like they’re making direct contact, kind of (just) putting the ball in play. But they executed perfectly so they deserved it.”

More than 60 major-league scouts and executives showed up to watch Montes de Oca and Titans senior outfielder Monte Harrison, who went 0-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Montes de Oca struck out two, including Harrison, in a scoreless first inning as the senior worked just above 90 mph and mixed in an effective slider.

“It doesn’t bother me,” Montes de Oca said. “You don’t really notice them. I’m glad they are there, but it doesn’t bother me.”

The Lions (6-5) have racked up multiple errors in innings in their past few games, and it plagued them in the sixth inning. After the Titans (11-2) scored a run in the fourth and added two in the fifth, the Lions committed three errors in a three-run sixth.

“That kind of has been the pattern so far,” senior Drew Green said. “We preach toughness, so when one person makes an error, somebody needs to pick him up, and we just haven’t been doing that yet. We’ll get it figured out.”

LHS scored its lone run in the third inning. With two on and two out, sophomore Parker Kirkpatrick singled to bring home junior Michael Sinks. The Lions had chances to add more runs in the early innings but left five runners on base over the first three innings.

“It’s definitely frustrating,” Green said. “I think some of us might be pressing a little bit, need to relax. (When) we get people on, we just make mental mistakes or can’t get the job done or execute what we’re trying to do.”

The Titans had a strong outing from right-handed starter Alex Breshears, who gave up just two hits in five innings while striking out three and walking five. Add in the Titans’ strong bats, and the Lions couldn’t afford any mistakes.

“We knew what we were going into to,” Stoll said. “There’s a small margin of error there, and we didn’t do some things early, and it just mushroomed out of control there. But, we’re better off for playing them.”

The Lions will face Rogers, Ark., at 6 p.m. today at LHS.

Lee’s Summit West 040 123 2 — 12 12 0

Lawrence 001 000 0 — 1 3 5

W — Alex Breshears. L — Bryce Montes de Oca (1-1).

2B — John Privitera, Carson Pickard, Logan Geha, LSW; Doug Easum, LHS. 3B — Ben Peterson, LSW.

LHS highlight — Parker Kirkpatrick, 1-for-2, RBI.