- By Jim Strait
Thanks to many people in the Lansing community, the Lansing Varsity Baseball field looked almost as good as the Lansing Varsity Baseball team played. When Jared Strait #8 took the mound for the Bobcats he left no doubt in anyone's mind that he meant business and was ready for his senior season to start. Twelve pitches thrown, nine strikes and three K's sent Spenser Van Etten's first three batters back to the bench shaking their heads.
Lansing's top of the order didn't fare much better. Starting short stop, #7 Ben Kutler, hit the ball hard but, he got under it a little too much and SVE's Center Fielder made an easy catch. It was Strait's turn to help the cause. With a 1-2 count he hit one to the second basemen, who threw him out at first. Two outs and the bases empty, the right fielder, Corbin Atkins #9, gave SVE's pitcher his first K of the evening. Lansing's number 8 stepped back on the mound with confidence.
SVE's three, four, and five batter ran into the buzz saw and sat down with three more K's in Strait's back pocket. Eric Eastman #4, playing third base, stepped to the plate and started things off right by lacing a base hit and then steeling second. First baseman, Zack Walker #13, helped the cause by being patient and earning a full count walk. Jesse Richardson # 3, hit his second pitch for an RBI single and then stole second. The DH, Tanner Winslow #6, took one for the team, getting hit in the helmet by a wild pitch. SVE started to slow down the bleeding with a 4-3 double play. The center fielder, # 5 Lansing Miller, earned a trip to first with a four straight balls. Kutler was up with a chance to redeem himself. An RBI single was ordered and delivered. Strait walked and then stole second. The third out was made and Lansing took the field for the top of the third inning with a 4 – 0 lead.
Three up, three down. Lansing fielders were bored as Strait recorded another three K's. SVE's pitcher came in and generated some hope for his team creating 2 ground outs and a K. Top of the fourth and SVE's leadoff batters had been watching and learning. Strait left a pitch up a little and inside. Number 12 dug in and drove the ball into the left field corner for a double. The chance at a perfect game was over. Number 9 stepped into the box and with two strikes, he cloned the last hit with an RBI double of his own. The number three batter stepped to the plate and hit the first pitch for a single. Strait shook it off and settled in.
With runners on first and second and no outs he created a pop up that second baseman, Trey McDonald handled like a pro for the first out. Two more K's were then added to the bundle in Strait's pocket. Winslow stepped up to the plate and let loose, blasting the ball high and far but right to the center fielder. Lansing's catcher, #11 Garrett Bell and Miller rolled the lineup over, both arrived on base safe with strong singles. Lansing's top was back up. Kutler hit a hard, full count, RBI single driving Bell in for another run and moving Miller to third. With lightning speed, Kutler stole second. Strait dug in and waited for his pitch as the ducks waited on second and third. It came and he drove it for a single that scored both runners. Spencer Van Etten settled down and fought back to make the last two outs. With the score at 7 to 2, they needed to get something going at the plate and soon.
The duo of Strait and Bell had other plans. Bell set up great targets and Strait's pitches clawed at the edges of the plate. The SVE batter earned a walk. Strait showed his frustration but only for a second. He reached back and struck the number nine batter out. The runner on first saw the dropped third strike and thought that he had to run. Bell ripped the ball to McDonald catching the runner in a pickle. McDonald threw the ball to Walker who tagged the runner for the second out. Strait finished with a four pitch K to end the inning and bring his total to 13 K's. Richardson and Matt Gonyea #2, both earned walks. Bell hit one to the third baseman who threw it across the diamond to first getting Bell out but, allowing Richardson to score on the throw. Miller walked and Kutler hit another one hard but too high and the right fielder made a nice catch to end the inning.
Walker took the ball and the mound from Strait in the top of the sixth inning. He allowed a single to the first batter and walked the second. With runners on first and second he settled in and started up the saw. The next three batters went down swinging putting three K's in Walker's book. Eastman made it to first on an error by the second baseman and then scored on a well hit, opposite field, RBI double from the lefty, Walker. That increased Lansing lead to seven and added pressure to the SVE team.
Walker took the mound with confidence and well placed pitches. He added another three K's to the book raising his total to six and the teams total to 19 K's. Now that is a right and a left that will knock out most teams. The final score 9-2.
Lansing's next battle will be against Trumansburg, at home on Monday, April fourth. First pitch will be at 4:30 pm.