Both teams followed a common theme on Thursday when Montgomery Academy traveled to LAMP for a baseball game.
For Montgomery Academy, struggles to find the key hit continued, while LAMP maintained its clutch hitting on Thursday in a 9-2 win over the Eagles.
Montgomery Academy loaded the bases twice, including the top of the first with no outs, but managed just one run the first time and none the second time, going 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
“That’s been our Achilles’ heel all year,” Montgomery Academy coach Stephen Vosel said. “The amount of times we’ve left the bases loaded has been a lot. And we’ve just got to fix that. Me looking at the positive of it, we know how to get the bases loaded, we know how to get on base, we’ve just got to finish it. I don’t know if we start pressing or what it is, but we’ve just got to come up with that big hit. Once we do that, hitting is contagious.”
It was particularly frustrating for a team that thought it had turned a corner in a 14-1 rout of Tallassee on Tuesday, only to relive some of the same struggles, scoring their only runs on a groundout and a wild pitch.
“We did the complete opposite of what we did the last game,” Vosel said. “We load the bases in the last game and double off the wall, single, walks, that sort of thing. We’ve just got to figure out a way to get that big hit.”
Rick McBride doubled to lead off the game and LAMP starter Caden Carpenter followed McBride’s double by walking Parker Cook and hitting Will Hardin with a pitch, but struck out Oscar Fiore and retired Walton Norrell on a groundout that scored McBride. After hitting Tom Main with a pitch to load the bases once again, Carpenter retired Bray Renfroe on a groundout to leave the score at 1-0.
“We got out of a couple of tough jams which could have tilted this thing,” LAMP coach Frank Parsons said. “Our pitchers compete and they’re mentally tough. Our pitchers have stepped up and put us in a great position to win.”
Carpenter would allow just four more hits over the next four innings, pitching out of another bases-loaded jam in the fourth before allowing Hardin to score on a wild pitch after leading off the fifth with a double. Josh Bell pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh inning.
LAMP, meanwhile, scored eight of its nine runs with two outs, getting three runs in the first, three more in the fourth and three in the sixth.
“They did a great job hitting today, especially with runners in scoring position,” Vosel said.
Andrew Lutz went 2 for 4, scored three times and drove in a run, Grayson Hall went 3 for 4, scored twice and drove in a pair of runs and Josh Donaldson went 2 for 4.
“The power is in one through six but we’ve got some players who can finesse and seven-eight-nine often come up with a big hit,” Parsons said. “They love to pull the trigger and good things happen when you put the ball in play.”
Five of the six runs scored by LAMP in the first and sixth innings were unearned as a result of five errors by the Eagles.
“We did not play clean today,” Vosel said. “I thought we pitched very well but defensively we did not play clean, which we have been doing most of the season.”
LAMP (11-2) is scheduled to play host to Prattville Christian on Friday and will travel to Prattville to play the Panthers on Saturday.
Montgomery Academy (6-4) will play at Pike Road on Thursday.