SIDNEY — Longtime Lehman Catholic baseball coach Dave King was concerned with the team’s makeup after a meltdown in the fifth inning of a Northwest Central Conference game against Marion Elgin on Tuesday.
The Cavaliers have quickly eased his concerns.
After bouncing back with a four-run win over Miami East on Wednesday, Lehman followed with a 13-1 win at Fairlawn in five innings on Thursday.
“After that not-so-good game, the baseball gods have been good to us,” King said. “These are two solid wins.”
There was a strong wind blowing into the field from behind home plate on Thursday, and Cavaliers took advantage by blasting 19 hits in five innings against Fairlawn freshman pitcher Gage Sharrock. They scored five runs in the first inning and cruised from there.
“They’re a good team, and credit to them,” Fairlawn coach Adam Lessing said. “Kinger had his team ready to go. We weren’t.”
The Cavaliers fell apart in the fifth inning against defending NWCC champ Elgin on Tuesday. The Comets scored seven runs in the inning to seal a 13-2 run-rule win.
Lehman (5-1, 1-1 NWCC) committed five errors on Tuesday and had several in an 8-4 win over Miami East, too. But the team had just one error on Thursday, which came in the first inning when sophomore shortstop Alex Keller overthrew first base on a single. The Jets scored their only run on the play.
King said he was happy to see the squad play clean defensively the rest of the way.
“We didn’t let that bother us,” King said. “Alex is young and is still learning the game. I talked to him about that. It’s a situation where if no one’s on (base), you try to make that throw, but if someone’s on, you don’t make that throw, because it could go bad.”
Lehman pitcher Ethan Potts gave up two hits in the first inning, including a double by Fairlawn sophomore Skyler Piper, who scored on the error. But Potts allowed only one hit and one walk in the last four innings and struck out six batters.
Lessing said Potts’ curveball proved especially difficult for Fairlawn’s batters and said his changeup and fastball worked well.
“I like the way he threw in not the greatest conditions with wind all over the place, but our defense played well behind him,” King said. “… He keeps getting better all the time. He keeps you off balance.
“These wind conditions weren’t nice for both pitchers. People don’t realize how tough it is to throw into the wind. The ball’s going out, so if you hit it good, it’s going to have some authority on it. And we did have a few authority hits.”
Fairlawn (3-4) had won its previous two games, including a 12-1 win over New Knoxville on Tuesday in which the squad didn’t allow a hit.
“I respect Fairlawn and respect all teams,” King said. “Lessing’s doing a good job with them and they’re a competitive team.”
Lessing said he’s been pleased with the young team’s progress. The Jets have two seniors and one junior, and the rest of the 16-man roster is made of sophomores and freshmen.
“These kids are great to work with,” Lessing said. “These mistakes are going to happen, but they’ll learn from it and get better.
“They’ll do anything you’ll ask them to do. They make little mistakes, and we fix it. We haven’t made the same mistakes more than once. That’s good for a young team. If they’re not making the same mistakes over and over, then we’re okay. We’ll learn from this and move forward.”
Neither team scored in the second inning, and Lehman added one run in the third to take a 6-1 lead. They scored four runs on five hits and a walk in the fourth, then scored three runs on four hits in the fifth to push the margin over 10 runs.
Lehman leadoff hitter Drew Barhorst was 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs. Bryce Kennedy was 2 for 4, with both hits being RBI doubles in the first and third innings. Keller was 2 for 4 and scored two runs, while Jared Magoteaux was 3 for 4 and scored three runs.
Mitchell Sollman was 3 for 3, including an RBI single in the fourth and an RBI double in the fifth that came on a hard ground ball along the left-field line. Ethan Potts was 2 for 3 with 3 RBIs and Bradly Haynes was 2 for 3.
Piper was 2 for 2 for Fairlawn. The Jets’ next game is on Friday at home against Franklin-Monroe.
Lehman’s next game is Saturday at Covington.
“I’m just happy for my guys that we get a day off tomorrow,” King said. “We’ve been full at it in a busy week, and we come right back at it Saturday.”
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.