The Mason Comets completed a four-game sweep against Lakota high school baseball teams with a 4-2 victory at Mason Middle School Monday.
Overall, the Mason batters struggled to make contact against Lakota East senior ace Michael Conrad, but got a big hit when it mattered.
In the bottom of the third inning, University of Cincinnati signee Conrad loaded the bases with a wild pitch on a strikeout, hit a batter and allowed another batter to reach on a fielder’s choice.
Then, with one out, Mason junior third baseman Drew Johnson got the Comets’ first hit of the game when he pulled a Conrad fastball down the third baseline for a 2-RBI single.
“Conrad was blowing some serious cheese. I just got a pitch in the zone and I was to get a soft grounder down the third baseline. It really got the team going and pumped up,” Johnson said. “Andrew McDonald then shut it down.”
After laboring through the first two innings, walking two and hitting two other batters, McDonald settled down, striking out seven batters and allowing two hits in six innings.
One of those hits was a solo home run by senior center fielder Alex Corna, which cleared the 345-foot marker in right-center field.
“It was an outstanding performance for him (McDonald). To do that against a ballclub like that, the defending state champions regardless of where they are now, is impressive,” Mason head coach Ken Gray said. “He just threw a heck of ballgame today.”
The Comets added a pair of insurance runs. One more in the third on an errant throw to the pitcher and another run on an error on a ground ball to the second baseman in the fourth.
Meanwhile, in a losing effort, Conrad also pitched well for the Thunderhawks, finishing the game by striking out 10 batters and allowing only two hits in five innings of work.
“When you strike out 10 and give up two hits that should be good enough for the win,” Lakota East head coach Ray Hamilton said. “He was good enough last Monday, when gave up four hits and struck out 12. When do that, you should win. Right now, we are not.”
The defending state champs are not winning and also lost Conrad’s last outing by the score of 4-2 against Hamilton March 26. Overall, the Thunderhawks are 2-4 overall and 1-3 in the Greater Miami Conference.
“This is the GMC. I don’t care who you play for, you have to have good at-bats,” Hamilton said. “There is real good pitching in this league and that will never change. Mason is a really good team, so hopefully we can learn from this, get better from this and not make the same mistakes we made today.”
The Comets, on the other hand, behind a deep pitching staff are off to 6-2 start and improve to 4-0 in the GMC.
“It has been a blast so far. We have a great team and we think that we can make a run at the GMC and maybe advance further later on in the season,” Johnson said.
BOX: W–McDonald (2-0, 7 K’s); Conrad (0-1, 10 K’s). Leaders M-Johnson 2 RBI. LE-Corna HR. M 6-2, 4-0 GMC. LE 2-4, 1-3 GMC.