Meridian Star

Sports

June 13, 2014

West jumps out, hangs on to beat Northeast

MERIDIAN — Early on, it looked like a lopsided win was in store for West Lauderdale High School Thursday night.

But Northeast Lauderdale High School never allowed the game to get out of hand despite yielding five runs in the top of the first inning.

The Trojans clawed their way back into things late, but ultimately, a lack of hitting with runners in scoring position by Northeast allowed the Knights to take away a 5-2 victory in summer baseball action.

“They competed well, hit the ball well, and the pitchers threw strikes,” West assistant coach Jason Smith said. “Overall, it was a good night.”

Not one to sugarcoat things, Northeast head coach Josh Snider said his team was unable to climb itself completely out of the hole it dug for itself in the first inning.

“We fell behind early, and that kind of showed what we were really made of,” Snider said. “But we didn’t quit, and that was one of the positives I saw in this team tonight. We kept chipping away and chipping away.”

Snider also said his team’s timely hitting would have to improve from its Thursday showing.

“I can’t remember off the top of my head, but I think we left eight runners in scoring position,” Snider said. “I don’t care who you’re playing, you’re not going to win baseball games if you leave that many baserunners in scoring position. But we were a couple of hits from being right back in that thing.”

An RBI single by Cody Crawford got the Knights on the board early in the first inning. Then, with two outs, Jake Mason smacked a two-run double, and Stone Alexander hit an RBI single to make it 4-0 West. An RBI single by Jeremy Freeman scored the Knights’ final run of the game.

Northeast scored its first run in the bottom of the fifth inning off an RBI single by A.J. Thompson. It scored again in the sixth inning when Lane Gordon came home on a fielder’s choice groundout.

“It says a lot,” Snider said of his team limiting the damage after the first inning. “Anytime you give up five in the first, that’s pretty tough. For us to keep fighting and not giving any slack the rest of the way, that gave us a chance to win the ball game. That shows a lot, that we have a lot of fight in us and that we won’t be run over.

“I like to see how we respond when we get punched in the face, and we were punched in the face tonight, and I thought we responded well. We just didn’t get the big hit tonight.”

With a key group of seniors having departed from this past season’s state championship team, Smith said summer ball was a good time to see who can fill those shoes in preparation for 2015.

“It’s going to be really exciting to see who steps up and who plays well,” Smith said. “We’ll always be extremely competitive and do well at the fundamentals and playing small ball, so I look forward to the excitement of seeing who steps up in each situation.”

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