The Leesville Road Varsity Baseball team fell in the second round of the playoffs to Apex High, but learned a lot about themselves in the process.
On Friday May 11, 2012, in the first round, the Leesville Road Varsity Baseball Team defeated Lumberton High by a score of 2-1.
The game was a closely fought pitching duel throughout, as the Pride recorded only four hits for the entire game, and Lumberton only mustering three hits off of Leesville pitcher Luke Emmett.
The Pride were able to show a lot of resilience after giving up a one run lead in the sixth inning (the second-to-last). Even though they only were able to slide past Lumberton, the win was still good enough for them.
Will Stephens, sophomore, said, “I thought the team showed some fight to be able to hang in there at that point in the game.”
The team struggled offensively, posting an on-base percentage (percentage of runners to reach base per plate appearance) for the game of just .308 (their season average is .361).
Stephens thought the team fought hard to be able to score the runs, saying “we had to manufacture some runs.”
Stephens was proud of his team and that they were able to win.
“Any time you can win a playoff game is nice, and we showed a lot of heart in doing so.”
The team would continue play on Tuesday, May 15 when they faced Apex at home.
In the seventh and final inning, the Pride were able to get runners on first and second and the winning run at the plate, Leesville had all the momentum and appeared ready to tie or even win the game. The fireworks were in full effect, literally.
Someone set off fireworks somewhere across the street midway through the inning, causing both teams to have to stop play for about two minutes or so. This event seemed as though it stifled the Pride’s momentum, as they would not get another run.
Although Stephens wouldn’t say that the fireworks were the cause, he thought the layoff may have had an effect.
“Whenever you’re hitting like that as a team and something happens to disrupt the momentum, that’s always tough to come back from.”
The deficit could have been avoided had the Pride not made a couple of sloppy fielding miscues in the first inning, leading to Apex’s first run. Apex scored their second and third runs after Leesville starting pitcher Sean Ross ran out of gas, and was replaced by a reliever promptly after allowing the hit.
Stephens let one ball past him that may have been fieldable and was at a loss for words when he tried to explain it: “I don’t know what happened; I just didn’t get it.”
The loss eliminated the team from the playoffs, ending their season with a record of 17-7 (1-1 in playoffs).
Despite not winning the championship, Leesville’s Varsity Baseball team learned a lot of valuable lessons that will help them contend for years to come.