BLOG: Lafayette’s early momentum was unable to sustain the Commdores enough to prevent a late-inning rally from the North Pontotoc Vikings in the first game of the best-of-three MHSAA Class 4A playoff series on Friday night in Ecru.The Commodores fell 6-5 to the Vikings despite jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning on the strength of a two-run home run from Josh Mills and a double from Luke Stanley.
North Pontotoc (21-4 overall) started to chip away at the LHS lead in the bottom half of the first inning with two runs. The Vikings then tied the contest at 3-3 in the third before the Commodores (22-6) scored two more runs in the fourth.
LHS maintained its lead until the fifth when an error allowed two Vikings to score. NPHS pitcher Kyle Robbins was then able to close the door on the Commodores the final two frames to secure the win in the opener. Robbins, who entered the game with a 0.62 ERA and 82 strikeouts, finished with 10 Ks on Friday.
Lafayette coach Greg Lewis talked about the approach of his team at the plate. He said he was pleased with the way the team hit in the first inning, but not with the remaining frames.
“I felt good that we hit those balls in the first, but when we came back in the second, I could tell that our plan went to them instead of what we worked on all week which was staying back on the curveball and driving the fastball (to the right side),” Lewis said. “We were swinging at curveballs that didn’t even reach the circle. That was sickening. I was very aggravated with our approach. I told our guys to put the ball in play and quit trying to be the big guys that put the ball out of the little park.”
Lewis added he thought Robbins was able to take advantage of some strike calls that the Commdoroes were unable to get.
“I thought he did a good job of coming inside. I thought the plate really got widened out of course. Our approach coming in was we were going to get on top of the plate. We shouldn’t have an outside ball because they all look like strikes,” Lewis said. “Their catcher brought it in two or three different times. From way out there, if we’re on top of the plate, it should be a strike for us.”
Jarrett Patton started the game for LHS on Friday before being relieved by Mills, who was saddled with the loss. Lewis talked about Patton’s struggles.
“He wasn’t very good all day today. On the mound, at second base, he just had a bad day. That happens sometimes,” Lewis said.
LHS will turn to senior Cody Gray on the mound tonight at 7 in the second game of the series that will be played at W.V. Brewer Field.
“Cody will start with Luke behind him and see what happens. Cody has been our guy all year. We’ve been good at home all year so I don’t expect to lose this one,” Lewis said. “That team is not better than us. We are definetly better than them, but they got (win) tonight.” (April 30, 2011)