Lakeland High School junior Ryan Stalnaker throws against visiting Grassfield High School during the top of the seventh inning on Thursday night. The Cavaliers fell 6-1.
Lakeland High School junior Ryan Stalnaker throws against visiting Grassfield High School during the top of the seventh inning on Thursday night. The Cavaliers fell 6-1.

Lakeland still looks for first win

Published 10:27pm Friday, March 29, 2013

Lakeland High School’s baseball team is still in search of the confidence that will come with an inaugural win this season after experiencing a 6-1 home loss to Grassfield High School in a game that was close until the final inning.

The Grizzlies scored their first run in the fifth and clung to that lead until the top of the seventh, when they broke the game open with five runs. Lakeland’s Tyler Lilley batted in a single run in the bottom of the seventh, but that was as far as the rally attempt got.

Cavaliers head coach Mark Pollick said it was a well-played game, but Grassfield’s bats started connecting in the final inning and Lakeland’s defense faltered briefly.

“We had two errors, actually, in the inning,” he said. “That’s what really hurt us, and they hit the ball.”

Lakeland’s Blake Harris pitched well for six innings, but the Grizzlies began to hit against him in their third time seeing him.

Lilley and Harris each had a hit for Lakeland, but they were the team’s only ones.

The Cavaliers have suffered some close losses against some of the district’s best teams, including a 6-5 loss to Western Branch High School and a recent 3-2 defeat to Hickory High School.

“I know I keep going back to these, but if we had won one of those games, I think that would have given our kids a lot more confidence,” Pollick said. “We haven’t really gotten that confidence booster to turn things around.”

He made it clear that he is not disappointed with his players, though. He was pleased with excellent play from his outfielders, Jared Bass, Austin Mills and Jefferson Knight. He also remarked on the immense improvement that Ryan Stalnaker has shown at shortstop.

“For not ever playing that position, he played a good game last night too,” Pollick said.

With improving pitching, Pollick is looking for more consistency hitting the ball when Deep Creek High School visits the Cavaliers (0-7, 0-7) after spring break on April 8.

 

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