By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
The Lafayette baseball team (10-4) faced another tough opponent Thursday, but lost to a hot Smithville team, 17-4, in the Pony Express Tournament championship at Phil Welch Stadium.
The Irish got behind 6-1 after the second inning before scoring three runs in the bottom of the fourth to get back to within 6-4.
That's as close as Lafayette would get, as the Warriors (10-5) tacked on three runs in the fifth and eight more in the sixth to win the mercy-ruled game in six innings. Smithville also secured its ninth consecutive victory.
The Warriors blew the game open in the top of the sixth, scoring their last eight runs on five hits and six walks. Lafayette trotted four different pitchers onto the mound to end the inning after senior starter Jayden Little was pulled after five innings of work.
A tough ending to the week, but Lafayette finishes runner-up in a talented tournament field after solid wins against Maryville Monday and Platte County Wednesday.
"I'm proud of our guys and the way we played these last few days," Lafayette head coach Matt Jansen said. "There'll be some things we take away with us. For us, it was just a time to look in the mirror and reflect back on what we could've done differently and what we could do moving forward. So, teaching moment. You have to tip your hat to Smithville. But, I wasn't expecting that when I rolled up to the park today."
The Irish were outhit 12-4, and the Warriors benefited from 11 walks. Lafayette also committed four errors in the field. Not a fun experience, but it's one that Jansen believes his team will learn from.
"We have some things we've already identified as things we need to work on and things we need to focus on come Monday," he said. "I challenge the guys. I like our group. We have a really special group, and I think they'll respond well like they have. I'm hoping we can use this as motivation moving forward."
Lafayette is off until Tuesday when they host Chillicothe (6-5) at Phil Welch Stadium. First pitch is set for 4:30 p.m.
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