Cavalry split with Royal Valley
Mowery homers again, ignites Lansing to victory in game one
It's been awhile since the Lansing Cavalry have been in a good old-fashioned baseball slugfest.
In recent weeks they've won big and lost big during games at the Burlington Tournament and contests against Ozawkie, Ottawa and Basehor. On Thursday night against Royal Valley at Lansing High School, however, the Cavalry found themselves forced to grit their teeth and fight. They rallied to win the first game 7-2, but then dropped the nightcap 10-9 in an eight-inning thriller after erasing an 8-0 deficit.
"You're just not going to win a lot of games giving up 10 runs," Cavalry coach Jake Hanson said of the second-game loss. "You just wonder why, you get that far to comeback and all the momentum's headed your way:"
"I'm extremely proud of the guys. They were in it every minute over here. There's nothing any of those guys could have done different."
The Cavalry (13-10) dug themselves an early hole in game one as they surrendered two runs in the top of the first after a pair of doubles by Royal Valley. Tom Kohl reached base for Lansing in the bottom of the first, but he was unable to score.
Royal Valley went quietly from the second inning on as Lansing starting pitcher Cody Mohan found his form.
The Cavalry gave Mohan plenty of run support beginning in the second inning. Matt Mowery - who bashed his second homer of the summer Wednesday night against Basehor - crushed another one to start the bottom of the second. Jordan Pratt and Lonnie Hansen added singles and both later scored in the inning. That put Lansing ahead 3-2. From there, the Cavalry never looked back.
Mohan reached base on an error and later scored on Conn Blakley's sacrifice fly in the third. Mike Bayless walked and later scored on a single by Mohan in the fourth. Jeff Terrill smashed a solo homer in the fifth. Kohl doubled and later scored on a ground out by Blakley in the sixth.
The seven runs were more than enough offensive support for Mohan, who used just 86 pitches while tossing a four-hitter.
After making tons of noise with their bats and playing clean defense in game one, Lansing had a complete revesal in the first four innings of game two. A steady flow of walks and errors in the first two innings allowed Royal Valley to take a 6-0 lead. Two more runs in the top of the fourth pushed the score to 8-0 before the Cavalry finally woke up.
"You can't start a game like that," Hansen said. "It puts a black eye on the rest of the game, it really does. And it put us in a big hole."
Once Lansing awoke, everyone knew it. The dugout erupted with energy and a steady flow of chatter as the bats began cracking again.
Mowery earned a one-out walk. Terrill singled. Johnny Stratton laced a two-run double into the gap in right-center field. That pulled Lansing within 8-2 after four innings.
The runs kept coming in the fifth. Bayless earned a walk. Kohl and Mohan were hit by pitches. Blakley doubled. Mowery ripped a single to right field. Suddenly it was 8-6 with no outs.
Terrill lined into a double play, but that didn't kill the rally. Instead, Stratton singled, Jordan Pratt was beaned and Lonnie Hansen ripped a two-run double down the left field line that tied the game 8-8. Hansen stole third and then scored on a single by Bayless.
Leading 9-8, it looked as though the Cavalry would put the game away. Mowery came on in relief and retired the side in the sixth. He ran into a jam in the seventh, though, and Mike Amaral relieved him.
With one out and runners on the corners, a Royal Valley player laced what looked to be an extra-base hit into the gap. Kohl tracked it down, however, and fired a throw back to first in an attempt at a game-ending double play. Nobody was covering first, though, and the runner from third trotted in to tie the game at 9-9.
The Cavalry were poised to win the game in the bottom of the seventh as Stratton reached base with a one-out walk. He advanced to second when Amaral laid down a well-executed sacrifice bunt. Hansen then stepped to the plate and hit a bloop single that appeared to be good enough to score Stratton from second. A well-placed throw nailed him out at home for the third out, though, and the game headed to extra innings.
"On a play like that, when there's two outs and the ball's hit in the outfield, you have to score," Hanson said. "The guy made a good play. I know the ball came right up to him."
An error on a pick-off attempt in the top of the eighth allowed Royal Valley to climb on top 10-9. The Cavalry responded with a two-out rally as Mohan walked and advanced to second on a passed ball. He was unable to score, however, when Blakley popped out to short to end the game.
Hansen said he and his teammates were disappointed they didn't play better at the start of game two, but he said there were plenty of positives they could take from the twinbill.
"We look at it kind of sore at the beginning (of game two) to see the way we played, because we know we're better than that," he said, "but to see how we can play when we come out of a hole like that, to show ourselves that we can have a bad inning, we can have two bad innings, but we can still win a baseball game. Seeing everybody up in the dugout, there's a lot of commotion and everybody's getting up, we know that even though stuff gets bad we can still look and say we still played well. Yeah, we lost the game, but take some good from this. We had big at-bats. We had big defensive plays during the game. A lot of that stuff can be our highlights to the game even though it was a bad loss."
The Cavalry next play a 3 p.m. Sunday doubleheader against Gardner at LHS.
- Jeff Terrill reinjured a finger after being hit on the hand for the second time in two weeks.
- Lonnie Hansen pushed his average up to .350 for the summer after going 3-for-6 at the plate in the doubleheader.
- Matt Mowery has homered in back-to-back games. He is 7-for-13 at the plate in the past four games.