The Lakeview Bank of the Valley American Legion baseball team's seven-game win streak was snapped Friday night at Pender in the quarterfinals of the Ralph Bishop League Tournament against West Point after receiving a bye in the first round.
Lakeview came into the tournament at the No. 5 seed and West Point the No. 4 seed. West Point won the league tournament on Sunday.
After scoring at least eight runs in seven of the last eight games, the Lakeview bats went cold as the Bank of the Valley seniors mustered only two runs as three defensive errors, two base-running errors and a solid West Point defensive effort led to a 4-2 defeat.
Ian Gibbs started the game on the mound, pitching five innings allowing four runs, two of which were earned on five hits, striking out four batters and walking none.
"We got starting pitching," said head coach Brach Johnson on Monday. "I thought Ian Gibbs did an outstanding job. He was solid. He threw a lot of first-pitch strikes. He didn’t give up any walks. Pitching was there.
"Defensively, we were just too sloppy to win the game. We had three errors. Sometimes the errors don’t hurt you, but this case I think they would have been the first outs of the innings, and they extended innings. One inning we had two errors. I think that scored two runs. They really hurt us. We had maybe four or five times we could have made a play on a ball and didn’t. "
Johnson cited quality pitching and good defensive plays by West Point as possible reasons for the below-average batting numbers.
"The third thing that was tough was their pitching was pretty good and we hit some balls directly at their guys. They made two or three unbelievable plays defensively to rob us from easy multi-base hits, extra-base hits. The combination of those two things really hurt us. That was the difference in the game. That’s how baseball works."
After three scoreless innings, Jaden Johnson hit a one-out single to drive in a run.
West Point scored two in the bottom of the inning off of two doubles and an error.
Neither team scored again until the bottom of the sixth when West Point added two more runs off of an error, back-to-back singles and a sacrifice bunt to take a 4-1 lead.
Lakeview tried to rally in the top of the seventh when Gibbs hit a two-out double and scored on a wild pitch, but a strikeout ended the game.
West Point's Mitchell Peatrowsky received the win after starting the game and pitching 5 and 1/3 innings. He allowed one unearned run off of one hit while striking out five and walking three.
"Definitely a quality starter for them," coach Johnson said. "We didn’t have as much discipline at the plate as we had (in previous games). We lost the game 4-2 and had two base running errors for outs. When you have a limited number of bases runners in a game, and you make two outs on the bases, that’s hard to overcome."
Lakeview's record drops to 8-5 with the loss.
The team will be in action on Wednesday at Lincoln Schwisow. Coach Johnson is trying to schedule games for next Monday and Tuesday before the Area Tournament on July 19.
"(The team wasn't) happy after the game," Johnson said. "Anytime you don’t take a loss well, I think that’s good for the rest of your season. That means that they’re going to want to come back and practice and keep playing and trying to get back on the field and get another chance at getting a win.Ultimately, we want to extend the season as long as we can when it comes to area tournament time.
"I’m feeling pretty confident that we’re going to bounce back from this on Wednesday and keep playing good baseball and go into the area tournament on a high note."
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com