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Houston uses HRs to eliminate Lafayette from 4A playoffs

A couple misplaced pitches doomed Lafayette’s season on Saturday. The Commodores fell to the Houston Hilltoppers 7-0 in Game 2 of their MHSAA Class 4A first round playoff series at W.V. Brewer Field in what was a rainy, misty night. Saturday’s win followed a 5-3 win by Houston at home on Friday night.

The wins advanced the defending 4A state champions into next weekend’s second round while Lafayette was eliminated from the postseason.

The Hilltoppers (18-11) used the long ball on Saturday with two home runs off Lafayette starter Colin Crawford. The first came in the fourth inning when catcher Luke Hancock hit a two-run home run over the right field wall to break the scoreless tie. That would be followed up with a three-run home run by second baseman Tanner Smith over the left field fence in the fifth inning for the 5-0 lead midway through the game. Houston would add two more runs in the sixth inning for the final margin.

“Hancock got us (Friday) night and and he got us tonight,” Lafayette head coach Greg Lewis said. “(Hancock) very rarely swings and misses and thinking back it’s true. He may hit a foul ball or something like that but he does a good job of keeping the bat in the zone.”

Outside of the two home runs, Crawford, who was tagged for seven hits, held the rest of the Houston lineup in check during his five innings of work, striking out five Houston batters. Senior third baseman Luke Gossett took the mound for the final time at home for the last two innings.

Offensively, it was a completely different story for Lafayette (10-16-1) on Saturday night after outhitting Houston on Friday. The Commodores managed only two hits over seven innings against Houston starter Colton Peel. Peel pitched a complete-game shutout for the Hilltoppers and recorded 10 strikeouts while facing just one batter over the minimum.

The only baserunner Lafayette had get past first base was center fielder Xavier Martin, who was picked off between second and third base after he stopped due to believing Peel had been called for a balk. The only other two base runners the Commodores had the rest of the game were first baseman Corey Taylor in the second inning and Martin once again in the seventh.

“We had a lot better approach at the plate (Friday) night than we did tonight,” Lewis said. “I don’t know if the rain was getting us. (Peel) is good. He’s been good all year and you can’t take anything away from him. To me, with that little bit of funky delivery and it jumps out of his hands. I think it jumps a little bit more and takes us a little bit longer to pick it up.”