Tonganoxie ends Lansing’s season
Tonganoxie Tylor McNeill and John Tytla both smashed two-run homers for the Lansing Cubs, but it wasn't enough to make up for one bad inning.
An error- and walk-filled top of the third doomed the Cubs to a season-ending 9-5 loss to the Tonganoxie Chieftains Thursday night in the Leavenworth Baseball League Tournament.
"I think they came in not relaxed," Cubs coach Michael Smith said. "I told them before the game, 'Just play your relaxed; play your game.' But in a game like this when your season's on the line, I think they get in their head that when a ball's hit to them, 'I've got to do this. I've got to do that.' They think too much."
The Cubs (14-17) started slow, they managed to avoid trouble for a little while. Despite loading the bases in the top of the first with two walks and a hit batter, they kept the Chieftains off the board. A walk and an error in the second inning also were without consequence.
The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second after John Tytla smashed a leadoff double to left field and later scored on a ground ball by Jacob Hansen.
What was a shaky start turned into an earthquake for Lansing in the third inning. An error, a single and two walks plated one run for Tongie and knocked starting pitcher Mike Sherman from the game. Cody Mohan entered in relief with no outs and the bases loaded. After striking out the first batter, a dropped ball kept the Cubs from recording any outs on what should have been an inning-ending double play. A walk, two singles and two more errors followed before the inning concluded. By then, however, the Chieftains had scored nine times. All of the runs were unearned.
"Whether it's us or the Outlaws or the Legends in the Zone (Tournament), it's hard to come back if you give up nine runs in an inning because you're playing from behind the rest of the game," Smith said.
It's hard to come back, but not impossible. The Cubs showed they had some fight left in them. Mohan held the Chieftains hitless the rest of the game and the Cubs had just one error in the final four innings.
Mohan led off the fourth inning with a triple down the right-field line. Matt Mowery then grounded out, but Tytla followed with a two-run homer to left field. It was his second blast in two days - he also homered Wednesday night in a 10-2 loss to the Easton Outlaws - and it pulled the Cubs within 9-3. An inning later, McNeill cranked a two-run shot to left that made it 9-5.
That's as close as Lansing would get because Tongie showed plenty of poise and played error-free ball.
"They're fundamentally sound," Smith said of Tonganoxie's players. "They've got a good coach (Pat Bailey). They're coached well. They know how to make the routine plays. They don't get nervous out there."
The Cubs weren't fundamentally sound. They committed six errors and allowed seven walks. The Chieftains scored nine runs despite having just three hits. The Cubs had seven hits. Mohan and Tytla each had two hits.