The562’s high school baseball and softball coverage for the 2022 season is sponsored by LBUSD Board of Education Member Megan Kerr.
The Lakewood baseball team’s recipe for success for the first two rounds of the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs was great pitching and play solid defense to limit power-hitting teams to minimal success.
With wins in the two rounds, including a win over No. 2-seed Norco, the Lancers relied on senior Anthony Eyanson to help guide the team to victories as the team’s veteran starting pitcher.
On Friday facing a tough Marantha opponent, Eyanson wasn’t available after pitching back-to-back outings, so coach Spud O’Neil drew out a game plan that included pitching by committee until the Lancers could go to seniors Nohea Mapu and Jacob Elliott in the later innings.
That game plan got flipped upside down Friday afternoon as the Marantha bats started off hot against starting pitcher Adrian Arellano and the Lancers weren’t able to mount the comeback in a 10-7 loss.
After a lead-off walk, the Minutemen had back-to-back triples by Angelo Aleman and Mikey Ebner to take an early 1-0 lead with no outs.
Lakewood got the first out when Arellano threw the ball to second for an out after the baserunner didn’t touch second base making his way to third.
After the tough start, the Lancers went to the bullpen three times in the top half of the first as the Minutemen took a 6-0 lead.
“We had a plan for the playoffs,” O’Neil said. “Anthony got us the first two games and he couldn’t pitch the third. So our plan was to get our other pitchers before Mapu and Elliott. They’re the ones that our relievers. But with the six runs, we had to get them out there really quick.”
With 11 seniors, the Lancers showed some resiliency in the bottom of the first as Mapu singled to center and Kane Yomanine walked to bring up Eyanson with two on.
Although Eyanson couldn’t contribute with his arm, he used his bat to help Lakewood as he crushed a 3-run home run to cut the Minutemen’s lead to 6-3 after the first inning.
“I had to do what I could to motivate my team to keep them in this game,” Eyanson said. “It wasn’t easy, we could’ve laid down early in the game, but we just kept them motivated and scoring early helped with that.”
Mapu pitched two scoreless innings as he bent but didn’t break against the Marantha hitters. After two quick outs in the fourth inning, the Minutemen broke through to take a 7-3 lead after three straight singles.
Elliott came in for relief and got the last out to minimize the damage. Elliott pitched two scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth innings and it looked like the Lancers bats came alive in the bottom of the sixth.
Eyanson got things started with a single to left and M.J. Norquist followed with an infield single with one out.
After a hit-by-pitch, Joey Gann drilled a 2-run single to cut the lead to 7-5 and Austin McDaniel made it a one-run game after he hit a sacrifice to push another run across as Lakewood trailed 7-6 after six innings.
In the top of the seventh, the Minutemen once against responded pushing three runs across to to take a 10-6 lead.
The Lancers added one more run in the bottom of the inning, but weren’t able to mount the comeback.