Lions put up fight, but fall short

Sometimes it’s the little plays that can spark a team in the biggest ways.

Trailing by six runs in the top of the third inning, senior catcher Drew Green made a sliding catch in foul territory to end the frame.

It seemed like that was the play Lawrence High’s baseball team was waiting for as the Lions scored three runs in the bottom half of the inning, and it looked like they finally were going to get the bats going.

Not so fast.

The Lions never capitalized, going hitless for the rest of the game and losing to Rogers (Ark.), 7-3, on Friday night at LHS.

“We had momentum coming off of Drew’s catch,” LHS senior Jacob Seratte said. “Then after that inning, just too many strikeouts. That just kills momentum. We could never build off that like we should.”

The Mounties tagged LHS starter Easton Barnes for six runs in the first two innings on six hits and two walks. They jumped on his fastball with an aggressive approach at the plate.

“Those guys, they weren’t the runners-up in Arkansas by mistake last year. Those guys can really bang,” LHS coach Brad Stoll said. “They came out, and Easton left some balls up, and they hammered him pretty good.”

Sophomore Parker Kirkpatrick relieved Barnes and put down the Mounties in order in the third inning, with Green making a sliding catch next to the LHS dugout and in front of the side fence on a shallow popup. He still had his mask in his hand until a split-second before he made the catch, eliciting cheers from fans of both teams.

How difficult was that catch?

“I have no idea. I’m not a catcher, but I’m going to assume it’s pretty dang tough,” junior Michael Sinks said with a smile.

Stoll added: “That was just great effort. That’s tough. As a catcher, when that ball’s hit, it’s not hit really that high so you don’t have a lot of time, and it’s slicing away from you by the fence, so that was a big-time catch.”

The Lions (6-6) responded with three run-scoring hits. Sinks lined a single into center field to score Barnes, who drew a leadoff walk. Green brought home Sinks with a ground-rule double to straightaway center field, and Seratte scored Green on a single to right.

“To our kids’ credit, we came back in the third and showed some serious grit. I was really proud,” Stoll said. “We had some competitive at-bats and really went at them pretty good. I was just disappointed, then we went from really competing in the third to not competing.”

The Lions will play Blue Valley West, the defending Class 6A state champions, at 6 p.m. today at Kansas University’s Hoglund Ballpark.

Rogers 420 010 0 — 7 11 1

Lawrence 003 000 0 — 3 4 0

W — Brett D’Amico. L — Easton Barnes (0-1).

2B — Nolan Farnan, Bryce Bray, Carter Forbis, ROG; Drew Green, LHS. 3B — Timmy Seldomridge, ROG.

LHS highlights — Parker Kirkpatrick, 5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 5 Ks; Green 2-for-3, RBI; Michael Sinks, 1-for-3, SB, RBI.