LHS earns Senior Night split
Terrill returns to field in emotional first game
Baseball Senior Night at Lansing High featured a barnburner, a nail-biter and an emotional return Thursday night at LHS field.
Unfortunately for the Lions, they only could muster a split.
LHS (11-5) cruised to a 9-3 victory in game one before dropping game two 11-8 in eight innings. Although an important series from a rivalry and regional standpoint, those thoughts were cast aside for a few minutes as senior Jon Terrill strolled to the mound to toss out a ceremonial first pitch and then take his position as the starting shortstop.
Terrill was suited up for the first time all season Thursday. He made his first appearance in the LHS dugout during a doubleheader Monday at Basehor-Linwood since a serious car accident on March 26 left him in critical condition.
Terrill still has a collapsed lung, but he took a few warm-up ground balls and then held down his position at shortstop while Chris Wagner threw the first pitch of the game. After the pitch - a high ball - Cody Mohan subbed in for Terrill, who jogged back to the dugout to roaring applause.
Terrill's appearance on the field may have been brief, but his presence seemed to give the Lions a major spark. They pounded four hits in the first inning and bolted to a quick 2-0 lead as Wagner and Conn Blakley scored on hits by Curtis Burgoon and Mike Bayless. Piper scored a run in the top of the third, but LHS pushed its lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the fourth when John Tytla scored on an error and Mohan smashed a two-run homer that drilled the scoreboard.
Lansing pushed its advantage to 9-1 in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run homer by Jeff Terrill (Jon's brother) and two more runs by Tytla and Josh Coleman. Piper scored twice in the top of the sixth but was too far behind to rally. Tytla snagged a diving catch to close out the victory.
The Lions lacked the same intensity in game two. Piper took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Lansing tied the game when Tytla stole home in the bottom of the second. The Lansing bats heated up in the third and fourth as it took a 4-2 lead. Piper took advantage of a pair of walks and plated three runs in the top of the fifth. The Pirates added three more runs in the top of the seventh for an 8-4 lead.
LHS launched a huge rally in the bottom of the seventh. Tytla, Lonnie Hansen and Coleman ripped three straight singles. Mohan was beaned and Blakley blasted a two-run single. In all, the Lions plated four runs, but they stranded the game-winning run on third. Piper scored three times in the top of the eighth and put the game away.
"It was a lack of focus, I think," Tytla said. "We've been a team that's had a tendency to just put it on whenever times get tough, but we need to learn from this and carry it and start playing (hard) the next four games."
The Lions are scheduled to play a 4 p.m. doubleheader Friday at Atchison. Then they'll close out the regular season with a Monday twinbill at Tonganoxie. LHS coach Terry Stueve said he still is concerned that his squad hasn't been able to put a good pair of games together so he said he's going to try something new.
"Tomorrow we'll be in the dugout between games," Stueve said. "The kids are going to bring their sack lunch tomorrow. We're not going to go out and say hi to mom and dad. They're just going to be in the dugout and we'll see if that works."
Stueve is willing to try anything to try to eliminate the two-inning lull the Lions seem to have each time out. If they win the rest of their games then they'll control their destiny for earning a No. 1 seed in regionals. Stueve said he believes his team will do it. Tytla agreed.
"We shouldn't have lost this game," Tytla said, "and we're going to prove it."