Reds psyched after second win
When the Lansing Reds played July 11 in the 16-and-under American Legion Zone Tournament in Lawrence, Reds manager Michael Smith said he felt like he was watching a different team.
The Reds played with confidence, energy and for the first time all summer they looked like a team. They didn't win either game at Zone, but since then, they've built off that strong showing.
On Sunday against Tonganoxie Team 2, the Reds took another step forward as they picked up their second victory of the summer. They lost the first game 4-3 before winning the nightcap 5-1.
"I think we were up for both games, and I like for them to think that we can beat anybody we play," Smith said of his team's mentality for the Sunday doubleheader against Tonganoxie.
A few players have sparkled during the Reds' stretch of improved play. Kris Hernandez has stood out for his stellar pitching and timely hitting while Tyler Wilson has been Lansing's attitude guy.
"Tyler's been one of our best players, and he's great for the team as far as his enthusiasm," Smith said. "His only drawback is when he makes an error he really takes it personally. But as far as enthusiasm and being supportive of everybody, he's been great."
Smith said a typical example of Wilson's toughness happened on Sunday when he took a foul ball off the nose in game one but bounced back in game two with a base hit that ignited the Reds' big offensive inning that ultimately led to the victory.
Smith said he's been pleased with Hernandez's all-around development.
"Since right before Zone he's been stepping up and not only getting the hits, but getting what we need," Smith said.
Smith said he was looking for both Hernandez and Wilson to be leaders at 6 tonight when the Reds play a doubleheader against Geiger Ready-Mix at Sportsfield. The squads split a twinbill on June 24. The Reds took game one 15-5 before falling 16-3 in game two.
"I think we both want to play each other," Smith said of tonight's rematch. "We beat them pretty handily in the first game and they turned around and beat us. We'll be playing for pride here for the season series, but the important thing about that first game is they saw what they can do against a little bit older team."