Lafayette returns home from up-and-down spring break tournament to open region play

Published 1:03 pm Friday, March 15, 2019

Lafayette baseball hit the road for a slate of games for spring break. Playing four games in three days in the Battle at the Beach at Gulfport, the Commodores went 1-2-1 in a stretch of games head coach John Walker described as building blocks for the team. Lafayette is now  6-5-1 on the season.

In their first game on the gulf, it was one big inning for Lafayette that got them going. The Commodores scored four runs in the fifth inning against D’lberville before surrendering three more in the bottom of the fifth and sixth. Their opening game would finish with a 4-4 tie in extra innings.

“We gave up four unearned runs in a game that would end as a 4-4 tie,” Walker said. “Just simple mistakes and the kind of things that come up to bite you. It cost us a win.”

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The Commodores day two slate brought both triumph and heartache. Lafayette hung 15 runs on Wayne Academy at noon, winning 15-4 before losing 2-1 to Madison Ridgeland in a 2:30 start.

“Blake Loper threw a great game against Wayne Academy. He threw a complete game and only gave up a handful of hits,” Walker said. “Against Madison Ridgeland we had a mistake on a guy trying to steal third base. That’s how they got that go-ahead run. We made a few mistakes on the base paths, but both of those Tuesday games were really well pitched.”

Lafayette scored at least one run in every inning except the first against a 6-3 Wayne Academy team, hanging six in the final inning of play to ice the game. Against Madison Ridgeland, they tied the game at one in the bottom of the third inning before surrendering what would be the winning run in the top of the fifth.

Closing the tournament was rough for the Commodores, losing an 8-0 battle to Northwest Rankin. Like the Lafayette win over Wayne Academy, Northwest Rankin didn’t have a single big inning, just a lot of paper cuts and one or two run innings leading to the aggregate 8-0 score.

“It was just a matter of us being outclassed. They were just a little bit better than we are right now,” Walker said. “It was obvious from the start that we were going to be in for a challenge and we didn’t really compete. They’re the type of team where, if you’re not at your best then you’re not going to have much success against them.”

Following the spring break trip, Lafayette has just one final tune-up on the season before region play, a Saturday afternoon home game against Pontotoc. They play Grenada on Tuesday evening in Grenada at 6 p.m.