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Crawford County's Christian Carlton (27) waits for the ball as Lanesville's Isaac Casabella dives for third base. Photos By Wade Bell

Eagles shut out Wolfpack

May 29, 2019
The host Lanesville Eagles slammed the door shut on Crawford County's tournament hopes last Wednesday afternoon with a 10-0 knockout punch to advance into the Class 2A sectional semi-final. The Wolfpack sputtered with their bats and could never find any momentum, leading to their season ending with the mercy rule.

"I think a lot of that has to do with not treating every game the same," Crawford County coach Isaac Bowles said. "They seemed a little bit more gung-ho tonight coming into this game. They have to be that way throughout the season. They have to experience that feeling before they step out on the field for a sectional game."

"It's difficult," he said. "You can't blame one kid for making an error, but, at the same time, those kids are very capable of making the plays. They have to treat every game the same and play the same and be ready to roll."

Crawford County's Preston Coleman, left, tries to pick off Lanesville's Isaac Casabella during Crawford County's 10-0 loss to the Eagles.
"We're going to be the visitors throughout this sectional tournament, and we talked to our guys about stepping on them early and setting the tone," Lanesville coach Zach Payne said. "We want our pitchers to be able to pitch without having to throw a single pitch and already having a lead in the game. That was nice for Justin (Bailey) to go out there with a 2-0 lead before he even had to pitch."

Those two runs came on three big hits in the top of the first inning. With one out, Isaac Casabella singled and moved to third on a Gabe Gowens double. Aaron Lockman lofted a sacrifice fly to left field, and Casabella put the first Eagle run on the board. With two outs, Brayden Kiesler singled to score Gowens, and the Eagles had their 2-0 lead.

Lanesville put Crawford County on the ropes early, pulling off its first double play, with the Wolfpack failing to convert any of their base runners.

In the top of the second inning, the Eagles expanded their by two. Ty Tidstrom led off the inning with a single, then, with two outs, Zach Fink was hit by a pitch. Crawford County then committed an error, allowing Casabella to reach base and Tidstrom to score. Moments later, Fink scored on a wild pitch, and the Eagles' lead ballooned to four.

"I don't think they weren't focused tonight," Bowles said. "I think the nerves got to them a little bit, and the errors that we did have happened to be very costly."

After Crawford County went down in order in the bottom of the second inning, Lanesville continued its onslaught in the top of the third with three more runs. With one out, Kiesler walked, and, with two outs, Tidstrom and Jensin Philpot were both hit by pitches. A Crawford County error with Bryce Kendall batting allowed those two runners to score. Fink followed with a single to score Philpot, and Lanesville enjoyed a 7-0 lead.

In the top of the fifth inning, Lanesville went for the kill. Bailey, Philpot and Kendall all walked to load the bases. With two outs, Casabella smashed a double to score all three runners for a 10-0 lead.

Crawford County's last offensive try came up empty, and the Eagles advanced with the 10-0 win in five innings.

"You've got to tip your hat to them," Bowles said. "Coach Payne does an excellent job. I really think he has his program established. Obviously, with winning the (Class A) state championship (in 2017), they're going to be a tough out no matter whether they have that talent or not. They're very fundamentally sound."

Lanesville finished with six hits, with Casabella getting two of those. Bailey struck out four batters, walked three and hit three. The Eagles had no errors and left four runners on base.

Crawford County finished with three hits, with Max Murphy getting two. Pitcher Preston Coleman struck out one, walked one and hit three batters, and Murphy, in relief, struck out one, walked three and hit one. Crawford County had three errors and left three runners on base.

"Very costly," Bowles said of the errors. "I think we had two earned runs and they had seven. That's what I try to preach to the guys, in this type of a game, we're probably evenly matched talent-wise and it's going to come down to who makes the easy plays."

Crawford County ended its season at 11-15 and graduates four seniors.

"These boys are a great group," the Crawford County coach said of his seniors. "I didn't have to worry about any discipline issues with them from their freshmen year all the way through their senior year. That says a lot about the kids that they are. They're a goofy bunch. They like to joke around, and I will certainly miss having them around in the dugout."

Lanesville 223 03 - 10 6 0

Crawford County 000 00 - 0 3 3

W-Bailey. L-Coleman. 1B-Casabella (L), Kiesler (L), Tidstrom (L), Fink (L), Murphy (CC) 2, Madley (CC); 2B-Gowens (L), Casabella (L). Records-Crawford County 11-15, Lanesville 13-12.

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