Archive for Thursday, April 13, 2006

Lions must ‘compete at the plate’ to gain sweeps

April 13, 2006

Despite watching his squad commit nine errors during a Monday doubleheader against Turner, Lansing High baseball coach Troy Andrews isn't worried about his club's defense.

That, Andrews said, will take care of itself with better focus and more repetitions.

Instead, Andrews is concerned about the Lions' offense. Sure, they've plated 35 runs through four games, but Andrews said they could do better at the plate. He likes the run production he has seen so far, but he watched his players strike out seven times during their 11-6 victory over the Bears in the first game Monday. In game two, 13 more Lions were retired at the plate.

"We can't have strikeouts. It just kills you," Andrews said. "It kills the momentum. It kills everything. You've got to put the ball in play. You've got to make the pitcher throw pitches. You've got to compete at the plate."

Andrews said if the Lions had competed better at the plate, they might have swept Turner instead of splitting the series. Lansing also split its season-opening doubleheader Thursday when it rallied to beat Mill Valley in game one, 7-6, before falling in the nightcap, 14-12.

Andrews said he felt "pretty good" about the way his squad progressed during its first two games. He said he was pleased with his pitchers - Mohan and Chris Wagner both threw well in their early outings, Matt McMillin and Johnny Stratton threw strikes - but the batting remained the weakest point.

Andrews said he expects to see a breakout performance at the plate at 4 p.m. today when his squad plays host to Bonner Springs. Lansing certainly swung the bats well against Bonner last year. LHS wracked up 27 runs during a two-game sweep last year. Wagner came within one out of throwing a no-hitter against Bonner last year. He will start on the mound in game one today. Andrews said the starter for game two would be a game-time decision.

"I'd like to see us bounce back (against Bonner)," Andrews said. "We'll have Chris going in the first game, so hopefully we'll rally behind him."

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