CHAD PETERSON does his best to avoid the tag of the Lebanon catcher, but couldn’t get to the plate in first inning action on Sunday. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
June 04, 2012LEBANON — After knocking off the sixth-seeded Hollis-Brookline Cavaliers in the opening round of the playoffs, the Kingswood baseball team headed to Lebanon on Sunday, June 3, looking to keep the season alive.
However, the Knights managed just one hit and suffered a 3-0 loss to the third-seeded Raiders in the quarterfinal round of the Division II tournament, ending Kingswood's season.
"This is the way you want to play it," coach Chip Skelley said after his team came up just short. "In three innings we had guys in scoring position with the guys you want coming up.
"We hit the ball, but they made the plays," the veteran coach continued. "If you have to lose, you want to make sure you go down playing good ball."
The Knights did just that, as they made only a few small mistakes, but the Raider hurler was able to keep the Knights off balance all day to help secure the win in just more than an hour and a half.
The game started well enough for Kingswood, as Matt Lounsbury was hit by the very first pitch of the game. Lounsbury was forced at second on a grounder to short by Chad Peterson, but Peterson was able to beat out the relay throw to keep the Raiders from turning the double play. Slayd Dore reached on an error, moving Peterson to third. Cole Swancott followed with a line drive to left. Peterson tagged up at third and broke for home, but the Raider leftfielder fired a perfect strike to the plate to gun down the Knight senior for the final out of the inning.
Lebanon got to Kingswood starter Parker Shure in the bottom of the inning. Shure walked the first batter and he stole second. A double plated the game's first run and a sacrifice groundout moved the runner up. A base hit then plated another run before Shure got a fly ball to right and a strikeout to get out of the inning.
Kingswood put two runners on base again in the second. Brad Riley led off with a walk and took second on a sacrifice bunt by Pat Smith. Corey Goff was hit by a pitch, but a pickoff ended up getting Riley caught between second and third and a fly ball to left ended the inning.
Lebanon put a runner on in the second, but Dore gunned him down trying to steal third to end the inning.
The Raiders did add a run in the bottom of the third inning. An infield hit, a stolen base and a base hit plated the run for a 3-0 lead.
Kingswood's best chance came in the top of the fourth. Dore led off with what would be Kingswood's only hit of the day. Swancott reached on an error. The next two batters popped up, but Goff worked a walk to load the bases. However, a fly ball to center closed out the inning.
Shure pitched around a hit batsman in the bottom of the fourth, but the Kingswood offense went in order in the top of the fifth inning.
Shure gave up two hits in the bottom of the fifth inning, but he also made a nice pickoff to nail a runner between first and second base.
Kingswood went in order again in the sixth and Shure got the Raiders to pop up three times in the bottom of the inning, sending the game to the final inning with Kingswood needing three runs to extend the season.
However, the Knights couldn't get a runner on and the Raiders advanced to the next round with the 3-0 win.
Skelley had nothing but praise for his team after the loss, singling out Shure for his fine effort on the hill.
"That was a gutty performance," Skelley said. "He threw the ball well."
Shure, who didn't play baseball last year, located his pitches well against a team that was 15-1 and featured all seniors in their lineup.
However, the Knight coach knew it was all about the hits getting down for one team and not for the other.
"They got a couple of hits in key positions and we didn't," Skelley said. "That's the way it went."
Skelley also praised Dore for his solid work behind the plate, keeping the Raiders from taking many chances on the bases, despite the fact that they are a strong running team.
In the opening round of the playoffs on Thursday, May 31, Kingswood traveled to Hollis-Brookline and took an 8-3 win over the Cavaliers.
Dore went the distance on the hill for the Knights, giving up just the three runs, while the Knights came back from an early 1-0 deficit with a number of singles in a row helped produce runs.
"It was just the way you'd want Slayd to pitch," Skelley said. "He stayed the course.
"It was a very nice victory," the Knight coach continued. "The kids played well."
In that game, the hits came in the key spots for the Knights, which allowed them to push across runs in key places to get past the Cavaliers.
The Knights finished at 8-8 in the regular season and earned the 11th seed in the playoffs. This was the first time the Knights had advanced past the first round of the playoffs in more than five years.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 569-3126