Lakota East, the defending Division I state champions, continued its climb up the Greater Miami Conference standings with a 5-2 win Friday against a Fairfield team that is moving in the opposite direction.
Last spring’s Enquirer baseball player of the year, Lakota East senior Michael Conrad, gave up only four hits, walked one and struck out eight in his fourth win of the season.
“We were pitching him once a week and he said that he felt terrible, so I said ‘let’s try twice a week,’” Lakota East head coach Ray Hamilton said of Conrad, who also pitched Monday. “He looked good today. He looked real good.”
While the Thunderhawks won behind their star player, the Indians have now lost seven straight games since the injury of their senior ace and Kent State signee Curtis Olvey.
Lakota East Brett Colburn is congratulated by Hayden Senger in a 5-2 win against Fairfield April 20, 2012. Photo taken by Joseph Fuqua II.
“Since Olvey has been out, we haven’t won,” Fairfield head coach Larry Price said. “Yeah, we do miss him. Take (Joey) Votto out of the Reds lineup and what do you have? That is about what he means to us.
“But, I don’t want to use that excuse. I think that it hurts, big time, but someone has to step up and fill in that gap.”
Olvey played a big role in the Indians’ start, which included 10 straight wins. During that span, Olvey struck out 32 batters in 21 innings and had a 0.67 earned run average. At the plate, he was hitting .389 and still leads the team with six doubles.
Meanwhile, the Thunderhawks have now won six straight and nine of their last 11 games.
“It is still a GMC game and they have dangerous players,” Hamilton said. “When you show up Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you better be ready to play well or you could be leaving with an ‘L.’
“We are finding ways to win and we did that again today.”
Offensively, the Thunderhawks put three runs on the board in the top of the third inning.
Senior Blake Wilder drove in the game’s first run when his line drive popped out of the glove of Fairfield third baseman Spencer Barrett, who leaped for the baseball. Lakota East junior designated hitter Brett Colburn scored on the play.
Later in the third, with the bases loaded and two outs, junior Adam Delaet hit what appeared to be a routine grounder that got by Fairfield second baseman Chris Rossi. Both, senior Alex Corna and Wilder scored on the error.
Another two-out error in the sixth inning, allowed Lakota East junior Ethan Bryant to score the fourth run for the Thunderhawks. Then in the seventh, Colburn drove in junior Tyler Schlensker on a sacrifice fly to center field.
The Indians, however, tried to battle back and scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth. In that inning, senior Tyler Burdine and junior Casey McWhorter each drove in runs on doubles to left field.