Braves swept by Lansing in belated baseball season-opener
Things began well enough in each end of the Bonner Springs baseball team’s season-opening doubleheader at Lansing on Saturday. But on both occasions “the wheels fell off,” as BSHS coach Scott Lero put it.
Darian Neal struck out five Lansing batters in the first two innings and the Braves carried a 1-0 lead into the third before his fortunes went south.
Neal walked five straight batters in an inning that saw the Lions take the lead for good. And while the Braves trailed just 3-1 after the inning, Lero said his team’s youth was a factor in its inability to recover from the setback.
Making matters worse was BSHS — and practically all of the region’s spring sports teams — not being able to practice outdoors for much of the winter weather-riddled preseason.
“We’ve got to play baseball,” Lero said, noting that the Braves had just one live scrimmage before Saturday’s rescheduled doubleheader.
In the opener, shaky pitching persisted in the fourth inning, and Lansing tacked on four runs in the fifth. When it had ended, the Braves (0-2) were on the receiving end of a 13-3 defeat.
In the nightcap, Tyler Hernandez didn’t allow his first hit until the third inning
And BSHS carried a 5-1 lead into the sixth inning.
“Tyler Hernandez was a stud,” Lero said. “He was just phenomenal today — in the zone.”
But once Hernandez reached his pitch count, the familiar demons of the first game resurfaced as Lansing clinched the sweep with an 8-6 victory.
“We had a little bit of adversity,” Lero said. “Things were not going our way and we just couldn’t recover.”
Of the 14 innings played Saturday, all but two were pitched by players not on the Braves’ varsity team in 2012.
“Our pitching is going to come around,” Lero said. “They just need to get on the mound and throw strikes.”
Lero’s outlook wasn’t all gloomy Saturday. He left the season-opening doubleheader pleased with the Braves’ bats, adding that his team’s hitting was farther along than he previously thought.
Thaddeus Glenn finished 3-for-4 in the nightcap with a triple and two runs scored. Jonathan Blackwell went 3-for-3 with a double and McDonald finished with a double and a run scored.
“We ran a lot and stole a lot of bases today,” Lero said. “We have to. We’re not going to drive the ball very much this year. We’ve got to turn singles into double.”
All told, on Saturday, the Braves finished with five stolen bases.
“I told them after the game that this is going to be a really good team by the end of the year once we put the pieces together,” Lero said.
The Braves next play in a doubleheader at Turner beginning at 4 p.m. Thursday.