Cavalry rallies for sweep of St. Joe
Stratton, Hansen, Coleman, Mohan get the job done at the plate during twinbill
So many breaks didn't go the Lansing Cavalry's way Tuesday night at the Lansing High School baseball field, but it still wasn't enough to rattle them.
Each time St. Joe surged to a lead, the Cavalry dug deeper and found an answer. The result was a pair of come-from-behind victories, 11-10 and 9-8.
"It was just strange. A lot of the bad breaks we caught early, we made up for that," Cavalry coach Jake Hanson said. "And that's a pretty good club (St. Joe). You could tell there at the end, they're pretty good hitters."
The Cavalry (4-0) appeared to be in complete control of game one early. Pitcher and LHS senior-to-be Cody Mohan threw three no-hit innings and allowed just one base runner on a walk. Meanwhile, Lansing built a 3-0 lead on two runs by Tom Kohl and another by Conn Blakley.
Then the wheels fell off.
Mohan, who was exhausted from a busy week that already has included a trip to Pittsburg State, work at his painting job and summer basketball camp, lost a bit of momentum. St. Joe ripped six hits and capitalized on two walks in the fourth inning. The damage was eight runs. Suddenly the Cavalry trailed 8-4.
Just as quickly as they fell behind, the Cavalry responded. Johnny Stratton walked and Lonnie Hansen singled to open the bottom half of the fourth. They advanced on Josh Coleman's sacrifice bunt. Stratton scored on Mike Bayless' single and then Hansen and Bayless scored when Kohl laced a double down the left field line, making the score 8-6.
St. Joe tagged on another run in the fifth, but the Cavalry tied the game at 9-all in the bottom half of the inning when Stratton, Hansen and Coleman - the seven-, eight- and nine-hole hitters in game one - earned successive walks that started a two-out rally. A double down the left field line by Bayless plated all three runners.
"The bottom part of our order came through huge for us tonight," Mohan said of Stratton, Hansen and Coleman's constant ability to get on base and produce runs in the high-scoring twinbill.
St. Joe regained the lead in the top of the sixth, but the Cavalry had yet another answer. This time they took the lead for good as Mohan ripped a leadoff double and scored on Blakley's single to right. Blakley later scored the game-winning run on Stratton's single to the gap in left-center. Relief pitcher and senior-to-be Mike Amaral then retired the side and collected his first victory of the summer.
Game two was a much longer struggle for Lansing, but the result was the same. St. Joe took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning before the Cavalry tied it in the bottom of the second when Stratton singled and scored. Each team plated a run in the third and fourth innings. A scoreless fifth left the game tied at 3-3.
St. Joe took a 4-3 lead in the to of the sixth, but Lansing answered with three in the bottom half of the inning. Kohl's leadoff single got it started. Blakley then singled. Jeff Terrill's base hit down the right field line plated Kohl. Jordan Pratt added a RBI-single, as did Stratton. That put Lansing on top 6-4, but it wasn't enough to fend off St. Joe.
St. Joe went on a tear in the top of the seventh. Its first three hitters doubled as part of a five-hit, four-run inning that made the score 8-6.
The Cavalry weren't done, however. In fact, they wouldn't record another out. Hansen earned a leadoff walk. Then Bayless hit a bloop single to center. Kohl followed with a walk that loaded the bases.
"It started with Lonnie there, and I was a little concerned having him lead off the inning (as the No. 9 hitter)," Hanson said. "But that at-bat was huge. That won the game for us. If he doesn't get on base I don't think there's any way we win that game."
Then it was time for Mohan's redemption. After his teammates rallied for him when he struggled on the mound in game one, Mohan wanted to pay them back for their support. He did that with a base hit to right field that plated Hansen and Bayless. The relay throw flew past the St. Joe catcher, however, and allowed just enough of a window for Kohl to race home with the winning run.
"The important thing, what coach stresses, is if one part of your game is going bad, don't let it get in your head," Mohan said of his ability to come through with the timely hit. "I got down, I was tired, but my teammates picked me up. We stayed confident in each other. When we're confident as a team, we go up there with a swagger. If you're confident you're going to get a hit, that helps you a lot."
The Cavalry are scheduled to play a doubleheader against Ottawa at 6 p.m. Wednesday at LHS field, weather permitting.
Hanson said that although his pitching staff has tired arms, he would prefer Wednesday's potential thunderstorms stay away so his squad can play.
"I kind of want to ride this thing out," Hanson said. "I want to ride it out a little bit. These guys seem to be, even some of the younger guys, you can just tell the confidence level is there."
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