3&2 Tourney tests Reds
The Lansing Reds baseball team entered the Johnson County 3&2 Tournament Friday with hopes of a winning weekend and a series of strong showings.
Some of their wishes came true. Others didn't.
The Reds went 1-3 at the tournament. Two of the losses were hard-fought 9-1 battles against Olathe South that were close until the late innings. The other loss was a 16-1 setback to the Overland Park Yankees, a club that touts a No. 2 national ranking in its USSSA classification. The Reds' lone victory was a 16-1 shellacking of the Shawnee Slam on Saturday.
All in all, Reds coach Troy Andrews said he saw his squad take some big steps forward.
"We did play a little bit better defensively," Andrews said. "And then that one game we just erupted : and it was everybody. It was everybody hitting from one through nine (in the lineup). That was a good stride forward for us, and I'm glad to see us get that win and go crazy like that. I think the guys had a little bit of fun with it."
The win, of course, was the highlight of the weekend. It didn't come easy, either. Although the Reds beat the Slam 16-1, the score was just 2-1 after three innings as Kyle Hutchison kept the Slam off balance with a strong pitching performance. The fourth inning is when things got nutty.
"We scored 14 runs," Andrews said. "We had two outs, and nobody had scored yet. All of those runs were scored with two outs."
The Slam assisted the Reds' big inning with three errors and three walks, but the Reds also strung numerous hits together as they delivered their best two-out rally of the summer. Peter Gibson, Kris Hernandez, Cameron Trowbridge and John Sebes all scored twice during that inning.
With the comfortable lead in hand, Gibson took over for Hutchison on the mound and closed out the victory by striking out two and forcing another to ground out.
"Peter came in and closed the door," Andrews said. "He did a great job as a reliever, and we haven't done that as much with him this year because we've needed him to play defense for us at shortstop. He's a valuable asset at shortstop, but he may get some more chances (to pitch) for us."
Although Shawnee was the only team Lansing beat, the Reds had their share of small successes against the Olathe South Falcons. Both games were close until the late innings. In fact, the first meeting was 2-1 going into the fifth inning before the Falcons pulled away late.
The one team the Reds couldn't hang with was the Overland Park Yankees. The nationally-ranked Yankees plated 13 runs in the second inning and put the game away quickly.
With the toughest portion of their schedule complete, the Reds (3-24) will play at Piper at 6 p.m. today and then head to the American Legion Zone Tournament. The Reds open Zone action at 6:15 p.m. Saturday in Wathena against Horton (6-8). The double-elimination tournament runs through Wednesday. Other teams in the field are Atchison, Holton, Doniphan County and Hiawatha.
Andrews said he didn't know much about the other teams in the tournament, but he didn't think any of the teams had played a schedule as difficult as the Reds have faced this summer.
"We've got a pretty good draw," he said. "They send us up there, and that makes it a little bit easier on us by not having to play the Kansas City teams."
At 8-7, Atchison has the best record of any team in the tournament.
"Atchison could be pretty tough," Andrews said. "They have a private school up there, Maur Hill, and I think they went to the state tournament this past spring, so you don't know if some of their kids play on that summer team."