Lakota East High celebrates after getting out of the first inning against Troy High School in the first inning. East went on to defeat Troy, by the score of 7-3. Photo taken by Joseph Fuqua II.
John Erardi reports:
Lakota East slipped past Troy 7-3 in the second game of a district doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Western Hills, earning the Thunderhawks a match with Moeller in the regional semifinal.
The Moeller-Lakota East matchup is scheduled for 2 pm Thursday at Marge Schott Stadium at the University of Cincinnati.
Lakota East scored six of their runs on only one hit in a 12-batter bottom-of-the-fifth inning, which they entered trailing 2-1 and emerged leading 7-2.
No surprise, five walks undid Troy, but Lakota East was continually applying the pressure with aggressive base running, forcing Troy into making some mistakes throwing the ball.
The lone hit for the Thunderhawks in the fifth was a big one – a sharply struck RBI single to left field by senior Adam DeLaet brought in two runs to put his team up by four.
“I knew a hit there would really break it open and give us some momentum,” DeLaet said.
The beautiful thing from Lakota East’s perspective was that its big inning was set up by its own catch-throw-and-tag double play to take the air out of Troy’s billowing sails to end the top of the fifth.
Troy had just scored two runs on three straight one-out hits, when junior Lakota East’s Drew Deaton – known to his teammates as “The Kid with a Cannon” – caught a fly ball in medium right field and uncorked a powerful one-hop throw to catcher Jarett Rindfleisch who tagged out the Troy runner trying to score from third base.
“Your eyes light up when the ball comes to you in a situation like that with a guy on third,” Deaton said.
“We play on the same summer team, and we pretty much do that all the time,” said senior Rindfleisch. “I’ve come to expect it from him.”
“I felt like I needed that right there,” said sophomore starting pitcher Andy Almquist.
It turned out to be tag, set and match for Troy.
Almquist, with some help from left-handed senior reliever Evan Korson in the sixth, kept Troy from ever mounting anything too serious.
Korson came in with two men on, one out and a run in – Troy was refusing to to go quietly – and channeled Aroldis Chapman to get two quick punchouts on all fastballs to end the threat.
It capped a wild week for Lakota East.
In their previous game, the Thunderhawks were down 3-2 in their final at-bat when senior Tyler Gibbons singled with the bases loaded to win it 4-3.
Moral: Beware the team that believes it can come back at any time, on any count, from any deficit.
Two teams believe that.
It should make make for one heck of a regional semifinal.
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