Baseball won’t let results define season
The LCC baseball team’s (3-10 MCCAA, 12-18 overall) slump reached six straight games after being swept by the Express of Owens Community College 9-5 and 5-4 at Westside Park April 15.
LCC freshman pitcher Tom Lantzy had the best performance for the Stars during the doubleheader, going six strong innings. He gave up four hits and three earned runs in the first game.
After being relieved in the sixth inning with a 4-3 lead, the bullpen fell apart. LCC sophomore Grant VanLiew (1-3), who took the loss, and freshman Caleb Simpson gave up a combined five runs in the next inning.
It was not the sharpest game for the Stars this season. They tallied four errors for the game, bringing their total to 76 for the season.
“We had the first game,” LCC Head Coach Andy Merchant said. “We had a one-run game in the seventh inning. We walked five guys, hit a guy and made an error so we pretty much gave the one away,”
LCC freshmen Jordan Hadley and Nate Lagenfeld anchored the offense in the first game, going a combined 4-9 and driving in five runs.
After the first game Merchant gathered his players to rally them for the next game, which proved to be much more fundamentally sound for the Stars.
“Stick together, play as a team and don’t let the first game bother you,” said freshman third baseman Cole Hartsaw about Merchant’s message to the team.
The Stars cut their errors in half and the bullpen improved massively, only giving up two hits in the final three innings.
In the fifth inning a few controversial calls went against LCC. A blast from Hartsaw (3-4, 3 RBI) appeared to bounce of the yellow piping and out of the park, only to be ruled a double by the umpires.
Later in the inning there was a close play at first in which an LCC runner was ruled out. Merchant ran out to contest the ruling with no success.
“We left the tying and go-ahead runs on base, so obviously that’s disappointing,” Merchant said. “But we played a lot cleaner game the second game. I thought we competed well in both games.”
Regardless of his team’s results as of late, Merchant explained he has seen noticeable improvement throughout the season.
“I think they are coming together,” he said. “Sometimes it is discouraging that the results haven’t been there. We compete and we put ourselves in position where either team can win and (we) just haven’t been THAT team.”
Hartsaw echoed his coach’s sentiment about the team’s visible improvement.
“I think we are getting a lot better game by game, by the end of the year we should be a lot better,” Hartsaw said.
The Stars were scheduled hit the road to face Davenport’s JV team on April 17, then face Ancilla College at home April 18.