By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
The Lafayette baseball team's early-season momentum continues. The Irish (6-1) won their fourth straight game Thursday, topping Maryville 10-4 at Phil Welch Stadium.
It was Senior Night for Lafayette, and they were led in victory by senior pitcher Jayden Little, who had a terrific six innings of work on the mound. The Highland Community College commit struck out seven, walked only one and only allowed one hit.
"In high school, you need to work ahead," Little said. "You work deep into games. I just tried to work ahead (in the count) and pound the zone. I know my defense has got me, so it just worked out like that."
After a scoreless first inning, Maryville (2-1) struck first in the top of the first inning. Dylan White led off the frame with a single, and was brought home with an RBI groundout by Connor Drake.
The Irish struck back with three runs in the bottom of the second to take a 3-1 lead, and they never looked back. Lafayette did the most damage in the fourth, scoring five runs on four hits, including a triple from senior catcher Chance Herie, who went 2-of-3 at the plate with a double, two runs scored and a walk as well.
"I'm just super proud of this team for this win," Lafayette coach Matt Jansen said. "For them to see some adversity early and fight through it and work as a team to get a win."
Leading 10-1 entering the seventh, Jansen and pitching coach Bill McClain made the decision to take Little out of the game and let some of the younger pitchers close out the game.
The Spoofhounds got three runs back in the seventh, thanks in part to a fielding error and three straight walks. After throwing 16 pitches, Davin Guess was replaced on the mound by fellow junior Cade King, who forced a pair of flyouts and a strikeout to win the game.
Jansen said Little wanted to stay in and throw the complete game, but he understood the decision to make a change and save some energy for games next week.
"We had to do what's best for the team moving into next week, and Jayden understood that," Jansen said. "He's a total team guy and he rolled with it. We were just fortunate to be in that position, because if the game is close, it makes those decisions a little tougher."
Lafayette continues its busy week with a doubleheader at Pleasant Hill Friday. The Irish face Pleasant Hill (7-0) and Fort Osage (0-5) at 10 a.m. and then 12:30 p.m. respectively. That'll conclude a stretch of six games in six days.
It's been busy, but Lafayette is excited about the momentum that they have, and are also looking toward three conference tilts against Cameron, Chillicothe and LeBlond next week.
"We're going to flat out compete," Jansen said. "After Friday, we get a couple of days off, and then we're right back at it. So, (Friday) is going to be a kitchen sink type of day. Brayden Luikart is gone and Jayden is gone, but we still have some really good arms left to throw."
St. Joseph Central gets nine hits, struggles defensively against Park Hill
The St. Joseph Central baseball team (3-2) got off to a 3-1 start, but gave up seven runs in the third inning and five more in the fifth, as Park Hill buried the Indians in a 15-6 win on Thursday afternoon.
Junior Logan Miller got the start on the mound for Central and took the loss in 2.2 innings. Miller struck out four, but walked five batters and surrendered eight runs (seven earned). In all, Park Hill (5-2) had 15 hits and also benefited from seven walks, three errors and two hit batters.
"We have to continue to throw more strikes," Central head coach Brent Seifert said. "We can't give them a bunch of walks, or they make you pay for it. I thought our offense was decent all game long. We continued to fight, and that's what I wanted to see."
Central ended up with nine hits themselves, scoring three runs in the second inning and three more in the fifth. Senior Josh Eivens led the way at the plate, going 2-of-3 with a double, an RBI, two runs scored and a walk.
The Indians saw a three-game winning streak snapped, and they'll look to bounce back against Savannah (4-1) on Monday at 4 p.m.
"I like the way our kids battled all game," Seifert said of his team's effort. "They continue to battle. Park Hill is a good team, and they swung it well. That one inning, obviously a lot of damage was done."
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