Wranglers roll to sweep of Cubs
The summer isn't getting any easier for the Lansing Cubs.
Fresh off a week where they picked up their first wins of the summer by splitting doubleheaders with the Easton Lions and Tonganoxie Post 41, the Cubs had their momentum halted when the American Legion Lansing Baseball Tournament was rained out.
The week off proved costly when the Cubs returned to the field Monday evening against the Leavenworth Wranglers. The Cubs showed signs of rust with their pitching and fielding as the Wranglers rolled to a 15-5 victory in the opener and an 11-0 win in the nightcap.
"We were playing .500 ball for a little bit, and then we had a good practice, but Mr. Mo (momentum) left us," Cubs coach Mike Smith said. "We need to try to get him back."
The Wranglers now are 10-4 and in first place in the Leavenworth Baseball League Gold Division. Meanwhile, the Cubs are 2-10 in the league and 2-15 overall.
After allowing a run in the top of the first in game one, the Cubs tied it in the bottom half of the inning. Then came the one bad inning that changed everything.
A couple hit batters, two walks, multiple errors and a two-run triple by Landon Cole led to a seven-run eruption that gave the Wranglers an 8-1 lead. They extended their advantage to 12-1 with four more runs in the third inning and never looked back. The Cubs scored three times in the bottom of the fourth and once more in the fifth but never mustered a serious threat.
Game two took on a similar tone as the Wranglers took an early 5-0 lead and then capitalized on Cubs miscues to plate six runs in the third inning.
"Robert (Lewis) pitched well, but we had some errors on fly balls, and then not getting the lead out on a double play just killed us," Smith said. "We hit the ball well. We just kept hitting it to people."
The Cubs continue to fall victim to the one bad inning each game, and that's something that Smith said needs to stop.
"It's that one mental error that we can't get over, and I attribute it to mental, not physical, because they know what they're supposed to do," Smith said. "We talked about it after the game, and we said we haven't really been beaten. We've lost all these games, but we haven't really been beaten. We've beaten ourselves. That's the one thing they need to realize. Baseball, a lot of it is mental, and you have to be able to get that out of your head and move on to the next play."
The Cubs will have numerous opportunities to learn from their mistakes during the next few weeks, but none of those opportunities will be easy. They play 6 p.m. Friday doubleheader against the Easton Outlaws (13-1) at Sportsfield in Leavenworth. Then it's another twinbill with the Outlaws at 6 p.m. Monday at Lansing High School. After that is a two-game series with the Leavenworth Legends (9-5) at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Sportsfield. After that comes a matchup with Tonganoxie Post 41, and then it's on to the Class AAA Zone Tournament.