June 24, 2016

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Illinois High School Association Class 2A baseball
Tribe turns tables, eliminates Fairfield Mules, 10-5


FAIRFIELD - Lawrenceville High School's baseball team doubled its season victory total in the opening round of the Illinois High School Association Class 2A regional tournament Monday with a 10-5 conquest of host Fairfield in the opening round.

The Indians (2-17) scored two or more runs in four different innings and rode the 12-strikeout performance of senior left-hander Braxton Blagrave.

Lawrenceville will travel to Mount Carmel Wednesday for a 4:30 p.m. semifinal game against top-seeded Flora, a team it has lost to twice this season. The winner will meet either second-seeded Carmi or the third-seeded host Golden Aces in Saturday's 11 a.m. title game.

"We struggled through the regular season, but it makes things better if you turn it on at regional time," said LHS coach Josh Benefiel. "The kids played really well today."

The Indians totaled nine hits against Fairfield pitchers Brandon Clevenger and Amon Simpson, but took advantage of seven errors on the hosts. Half of the LHS runs were unearned.

"That's what's happened to us for most of the year. Usually we're the team making the errors, then you look at the scoreboard and we've given up 10 runs," said the coach, after his team overcame four fielding errors. "It was kind of nice today. We made some mistakes but we didn't let it blow up into a big inning."

Blagrave scattered seven hits in earning his first pitching win of the season. Only one of the five runs he allowed was earned. He overcame four walks and 12 of the 21 outs he recorded were by strikeout - eight swinging and four looking.

"He pitched a great game today," Benefiel said. "When he got into trouble, he bowed up and pitched out of it. The big thing is, we didn't have to use any of our other pitchers. They'll be ready to go against Flora."

Jordan Shick had two hits, including a solo homer, for the Indians while Blagrave singled twice. Jacob Seed added a triple, while Ryan Seed, Thomas Mahrenholz, Brandt Cochran and Cody Steffey all connected for singles.

After giving up a run in the bottom of the first, the Indians took the lead for good with two runs in the top of the second. Shick tied the game with a one-out homer to left. Jacob Seed then tripled and scored when Mahrenholz reached on an error.

The big inning for the Indians was the third, when they scored four times on two hits and two errors on the Mules. Blagrave singled, Ryan Seed walked and Gage McIntosh reached on an error to load the bases. Jeff Baxter plated the first run on a groundout, while Jacob Seed delivered a sacrifice fly and Mahrenholz drove in a run with a base hit.

Benefiel was pleased with the production his team showed in snapping a seven-game losing streak. The 10 runs were the most the team has scored this season.

"We've constantly had the bases loaded or runners on second and third and not had the hit when we really needed it," he said. "We did today, and even had a couple of sacrifice flies and hit some balls to the right side of the field to move runners over. We've been working on that in practice and it was good to see it happen."

Wednesday's game will give the Indians a chance for revenge against the Wolves. Flora won the opening game of the season against the Indians, 10-6, on March 15. The Wolves also prevailed 9-0 in a game at Flora on May 7.

Lawrenceville 10, Fairfield 5

Lawrenceville 024 022 0 - 10 9 4

Fairfield 100 211 0 - 5 7 7

Braxton Blagrave and Ryan Seed; Brandon Clevenger, Amon Simpson (6) and Josh Flota. W - Blagrave (1-6). L - Clevenger. 2B - F, Flota, Jagger Wolf. 3B - L, Jacob Seed. HR - L, Jordan Shick.


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