Cavalry finish first at Wathena Post 55 Tournament, improve summer record to 7-2-1
Sure, the Lansing Cavalry entered the weekend with five games under their belts, but the season hadn't really started yet.
Those games definitely counted, but the Cavalry hadn't had a chance to play their first full tournament of the summer baseball season. That opportunity took place Friday through Monday at the Wathena Post 55 Tournament.
The Cavalry entered the tournament with lofty goals, and they didn't return disappointed. They posted a 3-0 record at the tournament and won the championship.
"I've never won a tournament as a coach, and I've been doing this for six years as a summer coach, so that was awesome," Cavalry coach Jake Hanson said. "Some of these kids haven't (won a tournament) at a high level either, or they did when they were really young. I think it was nice for them.
"The kids were classy the entire tournament, and they just played well all around. I think we only had two errors the entire tournament."
The Cavalry disposed of tournament host Doniphan County Post 55, 8-0, in the finals on Monday night.
Jeff Terrill threw a complete game two-hitter with no walks, but he also received plenty of offensive support.
That support came early. Peter Gibson earned a leadoff walk, and Tylor McNeill brought him around with a two-run homer. Two walks and two hit batters later, the Cavalry ended the first inning with a 4-0 lead.
Mike Nielsen led off the fifth inning with a single, and he later scored on Kyle Miller's triple. Johnny Stratton followed with a two-run homer that made it 7-0.
The Cavalry closed out the game in the eighth inning when Elias Moya reached on a fielders choice and then scored when John Sebes and Nielsen hit back-to-back singles.
McNeill said the tournament title was good for team morale at the start of the summer.
"It really felt good, especially coming out of the high school season and coming off that loss (in regionals), it felt good to come out and just beat up on some guys and get our confidence going," he said. "A lot of us had hot bats. (Chris) Grady's really been hitting good lately and Johnny's really come out of a slump and Miller hit out of his slump. We really played good team ball, and it was definitely a confidence builder."
In the tournament opener Friday night, McNeill tossed a one-hitter and Lansing stomped Seneca, 10-0. Kyle Hutchison had three hits in the victory and Miller had two.
Lansing routed Silver Lake, 13-1, on Saturday. Terrill had two hits - a triple and a three-run homer - in the victory. Stratton and McNeill had three hits apiece and Miller had two hits.
The Cavalry returned home Tuesday night for a doubleheader with St. Joe at Lansing High School. After a sluggish performance in game one that resulted in an 8-4 loss, the Cavalry responded in game two with a 6-2 victory.
Stratton threw five innings of three-hit ball and allowed just one run in his first pitching appearance of the summer.
"He was able to get in a (bullpen session) late last week," Hanson said of Stratton. "I was expecting him to keep us in the game, but to keep them to one run in the game is quite something as well as they swing the bats."
St. Joe used a solo homer in the first inning to take the lead in game two, but Lansing tied the game in the bottom of the inning when Peter Gibson reached base on a fielder's choice and scored on a walk by McNeill. Lansing scored two more runs in the second, one in the third, one in the fifth and one in the sixth to put the game away. Miller had three hits in the victory.
Terrill and Grady had two hits apiece in the opener, but St. Joe used a four-run fourth inning to put the lead out of reach.
The Cavalry (7-2-1) next play at 8 p.m. today in a single game against Basehor at LHS.