#1 Lamar 9, Buena Vista 5
On Saturday, the Lamar Savage baseball team traveled four and a half hours west to Buena Vista for the Tri-Peaks Cross-Divisional Championship game, where they battled the Buena Vista Demons.
The home team came ready to play and gave the top ranked team in 3A everything they could handle, especially early. Colton Eberhardt got the start and after retiring Layton Mitchell on the first pitch, labored to record outs after that. The Demons got a sacrifice fly from Owen Hoal and a single from Hayden McGinnis to plate two runs in the first inning.
In the second, Buena Vista got a double, three singles and another sac fly to plate three runs and take a 5-0 lead. Dylan McTaggart came on and got the final two outs of the inning.
The Savage offense was quiet early against southpaw Jordan Yates who did a great job moving the ball all around the strike zone. Yates shut out Lamar in the first three innings.
In the fourth, the Savages got an RBI double from Dalton Chandler and Buena Vista led 5-1. Chandler came on to pitch in the third inning and he was able to shut down the Demons’ attack.
Lamar got three runs in quick succession in the fifth, once the lineup turned over for a third time. Lucas Watson and Max Carere each collected RBI singles to make it 5-3. On Carere’s hit, the ball skipped past Buena Vista left fielder Andy Limoncelli allowing Carere to advance all the way to third base. He came home on a sac fly from Davin Jacobs and the Savages only trailed by one at 5-4.
The score remained the same going to the seventh. The Savages had one final chance to try and salvage the game. Kameron Farmer led off and walked on four pitches. Then Watson singled again. Carere came up, and got a bunt down. Demon relief pitcher Isaiah Martinez couldn’t pick the ball up cleanly and make a play. The bases were loaded with nobody out for Jacobs, who quickly fell behind in the count, 0-2. He fouled off a couple of tough pitches, and then Martinez made a mistake. He fired one right into Davin’s wheelhouse, and he crushed the ball so hard that it banged off the scoreboard beyond the left field fence. The first base dugout exploded in excitement and Davin was mobbed as he crossed home plate. The grand slam was his sixth home run of the season and it gave Lamar an 8-5 lead.
The Savages weren’t done. Guevara singled and Chandler doubled again. Eberhardt singled to left, bringing home courtesy runner Ethan Settles and the lead was 9-5.
Chandler worked around a walk to retire the side in the bottom of the seventh and the Savages celebrated the Tri-Peaks League Title. They finished the regular season 18-1, having won eleven games in a row. Buena Vista dropped to 14-4.
Chandler got the win on the mound, throwing five scoreless and hitless innings with eleven strikeouts. He has now struck out 80 batters in 33 2/3 innings this season. That’s almost 2.4 strikeouts per inning.
It is all but assured that the Savages will be the #1 overall seed in the 3A playoff bracket and will once again host a regional at Merchants Park. They own the top spot in the 3A RPI rankings and own more wins than any other team in 3A. CHSAA will release the bracket on Wednesday, May 9.