Reds unable to defend title
There was no worst-to-first story for the Lansing Reds this year.
After entering the American Legion Class A Zone 1 Baseball Tournament as the No. 6-seed and claiming the championship a year ago, the Reds occupied the same slot entering this year's tournament. A somewhat different lineup and some new opponents proved to be an unfriendly mix, however, and the Reds finished third in the six-team tournament at Noble Park in Hiawatha.
After winning their opener on Wednesday, July 18, against Doniphan County, 19-12, the Reds dropped an 11-1 decision to the second-seeded Lawrence Wranglers on Thursday and fell into the loser's bracket. That meant the Reds needed to win five straight to defend their title.
They took the first two steps on Saturday when they pounded Seneca and then claimed a 12-5 victory over Doniphan County.
A Sunday afternoon trip to the finals of the loser's bracket marked the final game of the season as the Reds fell to the Atchison Junior A's, 14-7.
"We had one bad inning where they got seven runs on us, and that was the deciding factor in the game," Reds coach Dustin Myers said.
The game was close for the first four innings. The Reds trailed by two entering the fifth inning, and that's when things fell apart. The A's exploded for seven runs and put the lead out of reach.
The Reds rallied for two runs in the sixth, and tried again in the seventh to come back, but they didn't have enough firepower.
"We had a couple runners on in the seventh," Myers said. "Then one of our guys hit a line-drive, but they doubled us off."
Although the Reds ended their season with an 8-20 record, Myers said the summer was a success in many ways. He said numerous players made major improvements that will benefit the Lansing High baseball team next spring.
"Parker King made leaps and bounds from the beginning of the summer. Clay (Pitsenbarger) broke out of his shell in the tournament. Cameron (Trowbridge) had an amazing tournament," Myers said. "Overall, I think the kids learned a lot this summer, and I know I did. I think there's a lot of hunger and drive in them as we get ready for the high school season to start."