New infield christened with upset
Prior to taking the field Monday, the Lanesville baseball team chanted in unison, ‘Home, sweet, home.’
Lanesville took the field for its 10th baseball game of the season and the first on the revamped infield at Ed Jaegers Memorial Field. Monday marked the first time the Eagles took infield practice on the sodded field less than a month old.
‘The guys just had a different energy before the game,’ Eagles coach Sean Smith said. ‘Before, during and after the game, there was just a much more positive feel to playing baseball.’
The positive vibes paid off with a 4-2 upset of Class A No. 7 Henryville behind a strong pitching performance from Jordan Sizemore.
‘The way we have been playing the last five or six games, I never would have bet this win,’ Smith said. ‘That was a big win for us.’
The Eagles used a bit of luck on the new playing surface to score the first run of the game. After Ryan Johnson reached on a hit by pitch and Sizemore drew a walk, Tate Watson loaded the bases with an infield hit off pitcher Taylor Stone. The good fortunes came when Alex Mix tapped a slow roller down the third base line. The ball cruised to an eventual stop just on the fair side of the baseline, plating Johnson.
‘It stayed about that far from the chalk,’ Smith said while spreading his fingers about an inch wide. ‘I wish I could take credit for that, but I had nothing to do with that.’
Lanesville took the lone run for a 1-0 lead after the second inning.
Henryville battled back in the top of the fourth inning, using doubles from Lucas Hostettler and Andrew Collings. Kyle Robertson plated Henryville’s second run with a single, putting the Hornets up 2-1.
In the fifth inning, Lanesville showed patience at the plate and a bit of wildness from Stone to retake the lead.
The three-run inning began with Cameron Teeter being hit by a pitch, followed by John Kissel reaching on an infield single and Johnson taking his second hit by pitch of the evening. With the bases loaded, Sizemore bounced back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk, plating the tying run.
Jarrett Beach then took a pitch to the helmet, plating the go-ahead run and lifting Stone for relief pitcher Kieffer Stiffler. The relief pitcher gave up an RBI single to Watson but later struck out the next three batters.
Henryville put two runners on with one out in the seventh inning to threaten, but Sizemore was able to induce a pair of fly balls to end the game.
‘Jordan relaxed too much and left a couple balls up, and they jumped on them (in the fourth inning),’ Smith said. ‘They are a real good team that can hit the ball. That is one of the best hitting teams we’ve seen, so Jordan did a real good job staying on top of them. I’ll give him a lot of credit for this win.’
Smith said his team was excited because they could relax and play behind a home crowd.
‘Considering the way we have been playing, I am kind of excited about it,’ he said. ‘We have 10 games left counting today. We’re dividing this season into two seasons, and we are in the conference hunt now.’
As far as the field, Smith said the team will likely stay off the diamond except for games and occasional infield practice to allow the grass to continue to grow. The field also has another new addition: lights. The coach said he has only seen the lights on once and hopes the team can get a few games in under the illumination.
‘We are still not going to be on the field that much,’ Smith said. ‘This was a weight lifted off our backs. They kids now know we have a place to go and to play.’
For most of the season, practice had been limited to the little league fields, where the bases aren’t 90 feet apart, or the outfield grass of the high school field.
The baseball team will host Cannelton tomorrow (Thursday) at 5:30 p.m. then will play in the Crawford County Invitational Saturday. The baseball game versus South Central has been rescheduled for Monday, May 25, in Lanesville at 6:30 p.m.
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