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jvbaseball_jared2The Lansing Junior Varsity Baseball team improved their record to four and zero as they pulled out a couple more assertive wins.  Last Tuesday the cats journeyed down to Greene and snatched a 14 – 6 win from the hands of the Trojans.  After several rainouts, this past Monday the team voyaged down to Whitney Point and clipped the wings of the Eagles in an 11 – 3 victory.

After an hour long bus ride through the countryside the boys landed in Greene.  They came out a little sluggish in the first three innings finding themselves down five runs to naught.  The bats finally woke up and the boys put some of their own runs on the board in the fourth.  Ben Kutler hit a two RBI single scoring Owen Davis and Jared Strait who got on base from an error and a walk, respectively.  Bryce Stanhope drove in Brandon Mikula on a well-placed single.  Kutler then scored on Jesse Richardson’s sacrifice fly to center field.  This brought the game back into range at 5 – 4.

Still down but heads kept high, the defense battled confidently behind B. Davis on the mound.  They slowed down the Trojans lead off batters but allowed them another run.  With two outs, the score at 6 – 4 and a runner on first, B. Davis started running out of steam.  He did his job, keeping the game close so, Coach Dan Cheatham shifted around the infield and called Strait to the hill.  Strait pitch in two and lobbed the ball over to first to keep the runner close and let him know he was watching.  The runner didn’t heed the warning.  Strait zipped the ball to Logan Osterman at first and picked him off to get out of the fourth inning, only two runs down.

The top of the fifth inning went quick with a few hard hit line drives directly at fielders but, you could sense the shift in momentum.  Strait took the mound again with confidence and a good attitude.  The leadoff batter made it to first base on an error.  The next three batters were not so lucky and were swiftly disposed of with K’s, nine pitches, all strikes.  Lansing’s bats came alive in the sixth inning and everyone got up.  Mikula led off with a bunt down the third baseline, into no man’s land to get onto first.  Kutler, Stanhope, and Richardson all drove the ball for singles. Brandon Davis joined the party with a two RBI double.   Corbin Atkins, Osterman, and Strait all hit singles and O. Davis would have joined them but was walked with four straight balls.  The score was now 11 – 6.

Strait took the mound again for the bottom of the sixth with a comfortable lead, a solid defense behind him, and a good coach keeping him smiling by poking fun at his lethal curveball.  Over the next two innings the only one on the field that would touch Strait’s curveball was Lansing’s catcher.  Five additional strikeouts for Strait, bringing his total to eight, and one pop out to right field, caught confidently by O. Davis, gave Strait the win, ended the game and ended the Greene Trojans chances at victory.

In Whitney Point, the Eagles solid defense went through the Bobcats first six batters not allowing any base runners for the first two innings.  Fortunately Greg Lee was on the mound doing what he does best, throwing strikes and relying on his defense.  Lansing didn’t allow the Eagles to score for the first two innings either.  In the third inning the game started for both sides.  Lee helped his cause with a disciplined walk and two stolen bases.  Mikula laid down another spectacular bunt with Lee on third base.  The Eagles pitcher fielded the ball well but, couldn’t get Mikula at first and hold Lee on third at the same time.  Kutler acquired the first hit of the game scoring Lee and moving Mikula to third.  Stanhope drove both Mikula and Kutler in on a well hit ball.

Whitney Point recovered and recorded a couple of their own runs, keeping the score close at 3 – 2, Lansing.  The Eagles pitcher started to tire and walked the bases loaded.  Again, Kutler jacked the ball, this time for a three RBI double.  As if replay was turned on, Stanhope drove him in on another well hit ball.  Strait, Stanhope, B. Davis and Lee each tacked on another run and Lansing’s defense held strong behind Lee’s pitching.  Strait was called in to close again.  This time only 11 pitches were required to obtain two K’s and a 4-3 put out by Kutler and to end the game.  Lee recorded another win, successfully pitching six innings.  So far Strait has faced 13 batters, retiring ten of them on strikeouts, one on a pop fly and another one on an easy ground ball.

The boys have been starting out a little slow with the bats but, once the team gets rolling they collect runs, not moss.  Their defense is not filled with show boating.  It just stays steady, pitching strikes and letting their defense combine the basics of catching and throwing with good game sense.  They feed off of Coach Cheatham’s competitive but positive and relaxed attitude.  The team is having fun and fully understands what sadly a lot of people don’t.  They are just playing a game.  Their next game is scheduled for Friday, April 19, 4:30 PM, at Trumansburg.

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