Lawrence’s offense limited to 4 hits in 6-0 loss to Blue Valley North
photo by: Chance Parker
In a battle of ranked teams on Saturday at Hoglund Ballpark, Lawrence High’s baseball team was shut out for the second time all season, falling 6-0 to Blue Valley North.
The Lions (No. 10 in Class 6A) simply weren’t good enough offensively to be competitive against the Mustangs (No. 7). LHS managed just four hits during the final day of the River City Baseball Festival.
“When you get four hits, you are not going to win,” Lawrence High head coach Brad Stoll said. “And that’s disappointing.”
LHS’ record fell to 7-7 after Saturday’s defeat, which was a depressing ending to the three-day baseball event. On Thursday, the first day of the festival, Lawrence earned a 4-3 victory over Belton despite committing five errors; Friday’s game was canceled because of the threat of inclement weather.
During the 2019 campaign, the River City Baseball Festival was a turning point for the Lions, helping the team to find its identity. This year, however, LHS had to settle for a 1-1 clip and a few hard lessons from a tough Blue Valley North team.
“The Belton team we played, we didn’t play our best but we came out with the win,” catcher Karson Green said. “(Blue Valley North) is a good baseball team, and it definitely shows what we are going to be facing down the road in regionals.”
“I know we can compete with these teams and I know we can beat these teams,” Green added.
Blue Valley North scored two runs in the fourth and one more in the fifth to get out in front. Junior pitcher Grant Cleavinger was back on the mound for the start, giving up five hits over six innings. He struck out nine batters and walked three while throwing 88 total pitches.
The Mustangs added three more runs in the sixth off LHS reliever John Green to remove any doubt about the outcome. That included back-to-back triples from the bottom two hitters in the lineup.
Lawrence’s offense, meanwhile, was stymied by Blue Valley North pitcher Luke Hendrickson, who threw a complete-game shutout. He whiffed three batters and walked three, throwing a strike on 64 of his 102 pitches.
“Tonight was just not a very good offensive night for the Chestys,” Stoll said. “He was coming right at us with fastballs, and we didn’t turn him around.”
Green was responsible for the first hit off Hendrickson, a leadoff single to right center in the top of the second. Blake Schimmel came through with a base knock two batters later, but LHS left two runners stranded during its biggest threat of the night.
Jack Stoll also recorded a single in the third, and August Reed recorded a one-out base hit to center in the seventh.
“It’s been frustrating for a bit,” Green said of the offensive performance. “We have to come to the game ready and have an aggressive approach at the plate. I know what this team is capable of doing, and it is just a matter of time.
“We just need to turn it up offensively and get it going like I know we can,” Green said.
Devin Neal and Carlos Vasquez also had some hard-hit balls that were caught by a fielder, thanks to a perfect shift call from Blue Valley coach Mike Dudley, who used to be a pitching coach for LHS.
“If we want to get where we want to get, we have to find a way to barrel some more ball ups,” Brad Stoll said. “More than what we did tonight.”
The Lions said that approach would really start with a good session in practice on Monday. They will do plenty of hitting before taking the diamond again.
“We can’t pout,” Brad Stoll said. “We are not going to do that. It’s not how we operate. We are just going to go back to work on Monday and just keep banging the ball.”
LHS will travel to Olathe North at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
BVN 0 0 0 2 1 0 3 — 6 9 1
LHS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 4 1