Sebes, Nielsen, McSweeney spark Cavalry past Basehor
Reds hang tough, come up short vs. Bobcats
When the Lansing Cavalry are in need of a timely hit or a big play, they usually rely on one of their go-to guys to come through.
That tends to mean Lansing High All-State first-teamer Kyle Miller, college-bound pitcher/outfielder Tylor McNeill, Highland Community College utility player Jeff Terrill, sure-handed shortstop Peter Gibson or LHS senior-to-be Johnny Stratton. After all, those five usually occupy the first five slots in the Cavalry's lineup.
On Thursday night during a 10-7 victory against Basehor-Linwood, however, a few new names joined the list of clutch performers that Lansing is quickly learning it can rely on. The players in question are eight-hole hitter John Sebes, nine-hole hitter Mike Nielsen and Mike McSweeney, a LHS junior-to-be who was called up to the Cavalry on Thursday evening to fill a vacant spot on the roster.
The Cavalry dug an early 4-0 deficit and were forced to play catch-up the rest of the way. In the process, Sebes, Nielsen and McSweeney delivered game-changing performances that helped the Cavalry rally for the victory at LHS.
"Guys that don't typically have to be in pressure situations are coming through for us," Cavalry coach Jake Hanson said. "Those guys did a great job."
Trailing 4-0 after the first half-inning, Lansing got a run back in the bottom of the first and then plated two more in the bottom of the second. The Bobcats extended their lead to 5-3 in the top of the third, but the Cavalry pulled within a run in the bottom of the inning when Kyle Hutchison smacked a one-out triple and then scored on a passed ball.
Lansing took the lead in the bottom of the fourth by scoring four runs. The second run - which tied the game - came when Sebes reached base on a perfectly placed bunt single and then scored on a wild pitch. Moments later the Cavalry took the lead when Nielsen stole home.
"That was a huge lift for us," Hanson said. "That was the first straight steal of home that we've had that I can remember."
Lansing scored twice more in the inning to take an 8-5 lead. It added two more runs in the fifth inning when McNeill and McSweeney hit back-to-back singles and then scored.
In addition to his hit and run, McSweeney also pitched the final two innings. Basehor scored two runs in the top of the seventh thanks to two fielding errors, but McSweeney struck out three batters in his two innings of work, including the final batter he faced to seal the victory.
"Mike McSweeney helped us a ton; I can't emphasize that enough," Hanson said.
The victory improves the Cavalry's record to 8-2-1 and gives them momentum entering the USSSA Qualifier Tournament at Frank White Complex in Belton, Mo.
REDS FALL TO BOBCATS
Earlier in the evening the Lansing Reds under-16 squad took on the same Basehor club that the Cavalry played.
The Reds entered the game winless for the summer and they ended with a familiar result - a 6-2 loss, but the youthful squad had plenty of chances to win the game. They stranded nine base runners, including the bases loaded in the sixth inning.
Lansing took an early lead when it plated a run in the bottom of the first as Paul Sargent singled and later scored on an error.
Scott Moore turned in an efficient complete-game effort on the mound, but he didn't receive much support from the offense. Lansing stranded two runners in the third inning and three in the sixth without scoring a run.
Basehor extended its lead with a run in the sixth inning and three more in the seventh. Austin Taylor opened the bottom of the seventh for Lansing with a walk, Sargent singled and Parker Gibson walked. Taylor then scored on a wild pitch.
With Sargent on third and Gibson on second with one out, the next two batters were unable to deliver a timely hit to bring them home.
The Reds now are 0-10 this summer.