What a difference six days makes.
Lakewood baseball lost by a historic margin to Millikan last week at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field, but the Lancers have turned it around and handed Wilson a 8-2 defeat at Blair on Tuesday.
“When we played Millikan I could tell that we weren’t ready to play,” Lakewood coach Spud O’Neil said. “Guys were late, and during pregame they were lazy. It was just a bad feeling. We’re trying to straighten that out.”
That process started over the weekend when Lakewood (7-6, 3-1) beat Peninsula in the Redondo Tournament on Saturday. O’Neil said he felt his team ride that momentum into this week as the Lancers jumped on Wilson for a pair of runs in the first inning, and then added six more in the fourth to effectively put the game away.
“We were being aggressive,” O’Neil said. “We took too many pitches in the first eight games. We got some good hits early and that was good for us.”
Juniors Blair McDaniel and Ricky Tiedemann and senior Kevin Kolb all reached base three times for Lakewood while junior Wade Coats collected 2 hits, 2 RBIs and a run scored in the middle of the lineup.
“We were more alive in this game, for sure,” Coats said. “We came back together for a good game today.”
Coats has come back as a better player this month after putting on his glasses. The junior just started wearing corrective lenses last year, but didn’t try wearing them on the field until after he dropped a fly ball in the loss to Millikan last week.
“Right when I put them on I could see the curve or whatever was thrown at me,” Coats said. “Now I can see everything so much better and so much clearer.”
Coats said that the glasses, which correct his farsightedness, also helped him make a diving catch in left field in the sixth inning.
“(Wearing the glasses before this week) felt uncomfortable for me, and the way I looked… But now I don’t care,” Coats said. “It’s my junior year and I want to do better so I’ll try something new.”
Lakewood had three hits and two walks in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead on Wilson starting pitcher Ryan Pettway. The 1-out double from senior Devon Semper sparked the rally, and Coats drove in the first run of the game with a single to center field. The Lancers also scored on a wild pitch that brought McDaniel home.
Wilson (6-6-2, 2-2) had a chance to get back into the game when a single, a walk and a hit by pitch also loaded the bases. However, Lakewood brought in reliever Mitchell Knight to kill the rally by forcing a fly out. The senior proceeded to pitch 3.1 perfect innings while striking out two.
The Lancers quadrupled their lead in the fourth inning when they loaded the bases again with two walks and a fielder’s choice. Semper’s fly ball to right field was dropped to start the rally, and Lakewood would score five more times in the inning on RBIs from Tiedemann, Coats, Kolb and Diego Gutierrez.
The only Moore League game at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. is Poly hosting Cabrillo. Last year, pitcher Dylan Gambino helped the Jaguars upset the Jackrabbits 6-1. In other action today, Millikan is hosting Compton while Lakewood takes on Jordan at the MLB Academy. Those games are scheduled to start around 3 p.m.