The Lakeland Mirror

Baseball team opens season in Florida over Spring Break

Danny Spatchek, Staff Reporter

The Lakeland baseball team dropped a pair of games to nationally ranked teams to begin their 12-game, spring break trip in Florida.

In the first game against Wooster, the Muskies stranded four men on base in the first two innings en route to a 7-0 loss.

Lakeland coach Chris Thousand attributed the missed oppurtunities to nervousness at the plate.

“I think our guys were a little anxious, and put a little too much pressure on themselves,” Thousand said. “They tried to do too much at the plate.”

In the second game, the opposing Red Men used a seven run second inning to defeat Lakeland 13-2.

The Muskies gained an early 2-0 advantage when junior center fielder Jake Heinemeyer socred on a single by junior third baseman Doug Novak. Freshman left fielder Mike Huber walked and would go on to score off of a groudout from sophomore DH Jeremy Williams.

Lakeland recovered quickly in their first Gene Cusic Classic game with a 17-4 win over St. Lawrence behind a stellar pitching performance from Lee Chepil.

Chepil got his first career win by allowing three earned runs and no walks in six innings.

Chepil got plenty of run support in a game where every Lakeland batter recorded at least one hit for a total of 20 hits. Freshmen DH Alex Finke, second baseman Ryan Polizzi, and Doug Novak posted three hits apiece.

Lakeland rallied but came up short in both doubleheader games against Scranton the following day.

The Muskies stranded a runner in scoring position in extra innings of the first contest and a bases-loaded single by Scranton’s Matt Rayha ended the second game.

A quick turnaroud had Lakeland playing two games the day after the Scranton losses.

The first game versus Babsel marked the first start for freshman pitcher Garrett Morris. Despite taking a loss, Morris pitched for seven inning, the most any Lakeland starter had pitched up to that time.

In the second game against Bethel, Lakeland surrendered ten runs in the first 3 1/2 innings on the way to a 22-3 loss. Freshman pitcher Trevor Hannes took the loss.

St. Lawrence, the same team Lakeland bested 17-4 earlier in the week, gave Lakeland its fifth straight loss with a 7-5 scoreline.

The Muskies left twelve runners on base during the course of the game.

The team returned in good form the next day, taking both games of doubleheader against St. Michaels, 7-0 and 4-3.

Pitcher Mike Ruzek led the team in game 1, pitching a complete game that included five strikeouts and five earned runs.

Lakeland’s defense commited zero errors, a first this season.

Pitcher Bill Miller also went the distance in the second game, striking out eight with one earned run.

Lakeland closed out the trip with two losses to Plattsburgh St.

A number of Lakeland players impressed Thousand in Florida.

“There were a lot of pleasant surprises on this trip,” Thousand said. “Doug Novak led the team in a lot of offensive categories and Alex Finke hit a lot better than we thought he would. Both Alex and Mike Huber played great in the outfield.”

Thousand also pointed to the close losses, saying the team needs to perform better at the end of games.

“We played some good teams and we played well too but we got tight as games got close,” Thousand said.

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Baseball team opens season in Florida over Spring Break