Lamar easily handles Centauri; wins thriller over Sterling
Game 1: #1 Lamar 29, #32 Centauri 1 (5 inn.) – The top ranked Savages began the postseason at Merchants Park by essentially setting the Centauri Falcons aside in one inning. In the first inning alone, the Savages scored 20 runs on 14 hits and sent 24 batters to the plate. Falcons starter Nate Anderson recorded only two outs on 75 pitches and was lifted after Davin Jacobs’ 3-run homer to put Lamar ahead 20-0. The Savages added on in the next couple of innings. For the second straight year, the Falcons failed to get a hit against Lamar as Colton Eberhardt was terrific on the mound going the distance, but Centauri did tally a run in the top of the 5th to avoid being shutout. Jacobs blasted another 3-run home run in the 2nd and was 5 for 5 with 8 RBI. Tyler Geddes drove in four as well.
Game 2: #1 Lamar 14, #17 Sterling 13 (8 inn.) – The Savages would next face the Sterling Tigers, who knocked out #16 Cedaredge 17-7. The same Tiger squad that handed Lamar its only loss back in mid-March. The Savages started well, thanks to the hot bats as they built an early lead. Sterling was able to get some runs on the board as well, but the Savages kept bringing the long ball as Geddes went deep for the fifth time this season, the home run drove in two which broke Scott Elarton’s season RBI record of 42 set in 1991.
That put Lamar ahead 9-4 and in the 4th, added to the lead thanks to Nick Navarette…
At that point, the Savages seemed to be in decent shape, but the Tigers had other ideas. They tallied three runs in the fifth and Lamar would get one back as the contest went into the 6th, 11-7 in favor of the Savages.
In the 6th, Chandler walked Austin Nelson with two outs and at that time had reached the pitch count limit of 110. Navarette came on in relief and quickly got the next hitter Braedon Kloberdanz down 0-2 before Kloberdanz took the next pitch out of the park to bring Sterling within two at 11-9. Lamar would not score in the bottom half and so the game went to the 7th.
Lucas Watson was summoned from shortstop to save the game, but ran into trouble. After striking out Jacob Seghi on three pitches, he also struck out Dylan Santomaso, but Santomaso reached after the 3rd strike skipped away to the backstop. Two walks later the Tigers had the bases loaded and with two outs and two strikes on him, Tristian Manley doubled off the wall in left to clear the bases and give Sterling a 12-11 lead.
Savage Nation was stunned and it appeared that Sterling would upset the Savages again like they did two years ago at Merchants, winning a 1-0 pitchers duel. That possibility seemed almost imminent as Lamar came up in the bottom of the 7th and Watson along with Max Carere were retired by Seghi. Next up was Geddes, a senior on what could have been his final at-bat as a Savage. The count went full. Sterling, a strike away from another upset win over Lamar. The Savages, a strike away from seeing an incredible season come to a sudden, shocking end. Then…
They say that great players make great plays in big games. In big moments, the stars have to shine. Savage Nation already knew that Geddes was a great player. But could they have imagined how he would come through like that? He now owns the Savage season RBI record with 45. His 39 total hits for the season are four away from the record set by none other than 1st year head coach Jason Veyna in 2006, and Geddes also already owns the LHS triples record with 8, currently.
The game went into the 8th tied 12-12. Sterling rebounded and was able to regain the lead again, putting the pressure back on the Savages. But like they have done so many times, Savage hitters stayed patient and Seghi allowed two free passes to put hitters on first and second. Then Andres Guevara drove a ball to left and outfielder Christian Rose misplayed the ball and it skipped to the wall allowing the tying run to score. Later, with one out and the game knotted 13-13, leadoff hitter Watson came up as the Tigers had brought in their right fielder to form a five-man infield not including the pitcher. But there was a hole around 2nd base and with two strikes, Watson shot a liner right past Seghi into center field, and courtesy runner Christjan Nieschburg scored to give Lamar the walk-off win and the proverbial monkey off their back, 14-13.
The Savages (20-1) are now 5-0 in one-run games and have won 19 straight, plus have now avenged their lone loss. They will await the official 3A State Tournament bracket to be released by the CHSAA on Monday, May 15.