Leader Blues

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

SPORTS >>LR Lutheran easy for Lonoke

IN SHORT: The Jackrabbit baseball team got a 4A-2 sweep of the Lions Monday evening, winning two shutouts 10-0 and 14-0.

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

It didn’t take long for the Jackrabbits to shake off the rust of a week’s vacation on Mon-day, sweeping Lutheran High School in a pair of 4A-2 conference games at Lonoke Municipal Ball Park. Lonoke took the opener 10-0, followed by a 14-0 rout in game two.

The Lions appeared to be outmatched in all facets on Monday. The ‘Rabbits lobbed repeated shots into the struggling Lutheran outfield seemingly at will, scoring as many points off of rudimentary Lion errors as actual hits in the opener before putting on a full-scale batting clinic in the nightcap.

Lonoke pitcher Josh Martin threw a no-hitter through four innings in the first game before Dwayne Lewis took to the mound for the fifth and final inning. Martin started out sending Lutheran three up and three down in the top of the first inning, with a strikeout on Steven Francis to retire the side.

Glen Evans led off for Lonoke in the bottom of the first with a bunt for an infield single, and then proceeded to steal second and third base while Luke Mitchell stood at the plate. Mitchell flew out, but Martin followed with a pop up that resulted in the first of many Lutheran errors.

Lions right fielder Brandon Crawford misjudged the ball, as it landed right beside him to score Evans and allow Martin to second.

Martin came in on a passed ball moments later to make it 2-0. The loose pitch was actually the third strike for Lonoke batter Lewis, but he scrambled to first while the Lions hustled to try and avoid the second run.

The ‘Rabbits put two more runs on the board in the bottom of the second with a two-run RBI from Evans that scored Josh O’Bannon and B.J. Manning to give Lonoke a 4-0 lead, but the bottom of the third would put the game away for the Jackrabbits.

Lewis and Scott started out the frame with a pair of doubles, with Scott’s hit scoring Lewis. Scott ended up trapped between second and third moments later, but played cat and mouse to perfection, eventually pulling the two basemen apart far enough to make the move to third, beating the throw for the steal.

Scott would then score on a sacrifice hit by Manning. Evans drove in the next run with a bunt that resulted in an infield hit to score Justin Neyland, and a single by Mitchell would score Neyland. Martin singled to score Mitchell, and Martin was then driven in by a big hit from Steele Gorbet that almost resulted in an inside-the- park home run.

Gorbet made his way around the bases as Crawford chased down the ball at the right field wall, and beat the throw to the plate. His chance to score the rare run was thwarted, however, when he failed to touch the plate during his dive across the end of the diamond, resulting in the third out.

Lewis took to the mound in the top of the fifth, striking out three with two walks allowed in between.

Manning went the distance for Lonoke at the mound in the second game, allowing Lutheran’s only hit of the entire evening in the top of the fifth inning. Manning threw a solid game, however, striking out 10 while giving up three walks and only the single hit to Jacob Pracht.

The Jackrabbits racked up four runs in the bottom of the first before going through the entire lineup during their next turn, resulting in 10 runs that would set the final margin.

Lonoke finished the evening with 19 total hits. The ‘Rabbits took game one with 10 runs, nine hits and no errors, with 14 runs, 10 hits and no errors in game two. Evans was 4 for 5 on the evening with a double; Mitchell was 3 for 5. Neyland went 3 for 5 with a double on the night, and Gorbet was 2 for 2 in the second game with two doubles. Lutheran committed two errors in both games, with only one hit in the final inning of game two.