Lions take down Liberty for fifth straight win
When Ascension Christian faced Liberty on Tuesday, it took a three-run homer by Andrew Landry in the seventh inning for the Lions to pull out a thrilling 8-7 victory.
The late-game heroics weren’t needed on Thursday. Playing Liberty at home, Ascension Christian ran out to a 5-0 lead. Even after the Patriots cut into the deficit on two separate occasions, the Lions answered.
In the end, Ascension Christian cruised to an 8-4 win.
“We talk about being able to respond all the time, and being able to battle against adversity. When we get knocked out, we have to be able to get back up,” Lions head coach Jared Kleinpeter said. “Today, we did a great job of bouncing back. The biggest thing I preached all week was that they were going to come out swinging and that we were going to have to respond. We did that today. When they punched, we punched back, and I’m proud of the guys for that.”
But it was Ascension Christian who did all the punching early.
In the bottom of the first inning, both Landry and Preston Connelly singled. Landry later scored on a throwing error, and another run scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0.
In the second, Wyatt Stafford reached base following a Liberty error. Stafford later scored on a single by Carson Sulfsted.
Up 3-0 in the bottom of the third, the Lions added two more runs.
Landry led off with a walk, and Connelly singled. Landry then scored on a sac fly by Wyatt Buratt and another Lion run scored on a Patriot error to make it 5-0.
Liberty scratched two runs in the fourth, but Ascension Christian responded in the bottom of the frame.
Carter Evans was hit by a pitch, and he was eventually driven home by a Landry single to make it 6-2.
In the top of the sixth, the Patriots made things a little interesting after they scored two more runs to trim the deficit to 6-4.
However, the Lions were able to put the game away in the bottom of the inning.
Sulfsted reached base on a fielder’s choice, and Landry was hit by a pitch. It set the table for Braden Tregre, who drove both players home with a double.
Jack Markey had a solid outing on the mound for the Lions. He pitched a complete game, surrendering six hits and striking out three.
“Today was big because [Jack Markey] was able to locate and command off-speed,” Kleinpeter said. “Tuesday, we had a problem with our off-speed pitches, but we were able to Liberty them off balanced with them today. Liberty is a very good-hitting team, so you have to mix it up and throw two and three different pitches to get them out, so I felt like that was the difference today.”
From the plate, Landry was 2-2 with a walk and an RBI. Connelly was 2-4, and Tregre was 1-3 with a walk and an RBI.
The Lions have now won five straight games with District 7-1A play beginning next week.
“These last two games were very big for us,” Kleinpeter said. “We played a very quality team. They’re really good. I like where we’re at. I like the way we’re going into the district, but we still have some work to do to get where we need to be.”