Coleman, Hansen spark Cavalry at Zone Tournament
Senior duo’s late-game heroics lead to extra-innings victory
Paola One good thing came out of the Lansing Cavalry's ugly 12-10 loss to Blue Valley West on Wednesday at the Class AAA American Legion Zone Baseball Tournament.
His squad discovered its fighting spirit.
No matter how good or bad things got during that loss, the Cavalry never lost their competitive edge. The dugout rocked louder than it had all summer. Catcher Lonnie Hanson almost wore himself out while pacing up and down the dugout and shouting encouragement to his teammates when the Cavalry were up to bat. Even though things weren't crisp, they never lost their focus.
On Thursday during the elimination games of Zone, the Cavalry used that same enthusiasm at attitude to gut out a 9-7 come-from-behind victory over host team Paola and then hooted and hollered their way to another come-from-behind victory in the nightcap, this time a 10-9 win in extra innings against Blue Valley West.
"When we were in extra innings, the guys in the dugout were as loud as I've heard 'em," Hanson said of his squad.
With the score tied at 9-9 entering the top of the 10th inning, the Outlaws continued to roar in the dugout. They'd already pulled off one miracle win Thursday in the 100-degree heat and they could feel another victory within their grasp.
Josh Coleman stepped to the plate for a long at-bat. The dugout rocked louder as Coleman took some hacks and watched other close pitches fly by. He worked the count full and then drew ball four. Next up was Hansen, one of the Cavalry's top hitters this summer who had been marred in a recent hitting slump. Just like Coleman, Hansen seized the moment. He stepped into a pitch and laced a double into the gap. The speedy Coleman raced all the way around from first and scored the go-ahead run.
" Coleman ran the count full and earned a walk, and then with his speed he was able to score when Lonnie hit a double in the gap," Hanson said. "It was just great to see those two guys come through like that."
Lansing was the visiting team, though, so it had to take the field one final time and hold the lead. Conn Blakley threw the final 2 1/3 innings of the game, and he calmly retired the Jaguars to end the game.
For playing two days in 100-degree weather, a lot of guys are pretty spent," Hanson said of his worn-out but victorious team. "Games like that, to take two in the same day, it's just so hot out there, but it was really great (to win them both)."
The Cavalry advanced to the final three at the Zone Tournament. They next will play the loser of Topeka Post 400 and Olathe South at 4:30 p.m. Friday. If they lose, they're done. If they win, they'll play again at 7 p.m.