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Pioneers capitalize on sluggish Lanesville third

Pioneers capitalize on sluggish Lanesville third
Pioneers capitalize on sluggish Lanesville third
Last Wednesday afternoon, Lanesville's Kenton Acton steps in to take his hacks at Providence's Charlie Schuler. The junior leads the Eagles in home runs with eight. (Photo by Brian Smith)

Last week, Lanesville had quite the test a little more than two weeks before sectional play opens, playing a pair of games against ranked opponents. After a convincing 5-2 win over conference-foe Henryville on May 7, Lanesville had one bad inning against Providence, leading to a disappointing 8-4 loss last Wednesday.
Against Class A No. 11 Henryville, Matthew Beckman improved his record on the mound to 6-0, tossing a solid performance. Leading throughout, the Eagles took a 5-0 lead into the seventh, then Henryville tacked on late runs. Kenton Acton’s eighth homer, a part of nine Eagle hits, was his eighth of the season.
Lanesville turned around Wednesday and struggled early to get going, dropping an 8-4 decision to Class 2A No. 6 Providence.
‘We gave them five unearned runs,’ Smith said. ‘You take that away and it could be a 4-3 game.’
Lanesville, ranked No. 5 in Class A, avenged a one-run deficit early, taking a 2-1 lead into the third inning.
After getting the first out, Lanesville put runners on the corners after Acton hit a batter, then his defense allowed a Pioneer to reach on an error. Trying to cut down the runner at third on a double steal attempt, Lanesville catcher Jeremy Smitley threw the ball into left, plating both runs. The errors put Providence back in front 4-2.
With the Eagles on their heels, Johnelle Hardin hit one of his two doubles after the error. Another double by Charlie Schuler plated Hardin, then another error by the Eagle infield put two runners on. Providence’s Zach Ernstberger put the exclamation point on the third inning, blasting a three-run shot to left center.
‘They hit the ball well that inning,’ Smith said. ‘We came out flat the first three or four innings and I don’t know why. They got rattled, and it took a batter or two to get our composure back.’
The hometown Eagles didn’t go down without a fight. Acton settled down on the mound, only giving up one run and yielding just three hits over the last four innings.
In the fifth inning, Lanesville showed grit, cutting the Providence lead in half, 8-4. Jordan Sizemore led off the inning with a double, then Acton plated the freshman on a fielder’s choice. With the bases empty and two outs, Taylor Hess belted a solo homer.
The Eagles put the bat on the ball in the final two innings but couldn’t squeak out any hits.
‘We have to show up like a team that is 11-2,’ Smith said. ‘We hit the ball well against Henryville and that is what is frustrating ” coming out here after a game like that, which gives you a little confidence, then you come out flat.’
Schuler picked up the win for Providence and Acton took the loss.
Smith said, in the past, his teams may have just folded in a game that unfolded the way the Providence game went, but he was proud of the effort his team gave after being down six runs.
The Eagles are also battling through some injuries. Acton, the team leader in home runs with eight, threw all seven innings on a sore ankle. Center-fielder Seth Jacobs played only the first inning against Providence and left with a sore back.
Lanesville has a series of tests before sectional play begins. They will play at Paoli on May 22 and come back to host Silver Creek on May 23.
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