LUMBERTON – After Lumberton fought back from a 3-0 deficit, Resurrection used two-out hitting and a couple of Lumberton errors to earn an 8-3 win over the Panthers.
Among the issues Lumberton faced Tuesday, it was the absence of the team’s head coach Kody Lancaster, who was placed on administrative leave this week and interim coach Jon Ladner said played a role for his team.
“He’s been out here working his tail off with this group for this moment,” Ladner said. “This was the group that was freshmen when he started. I think it played into [tonight] a little bit. The kids were laser focused at the beginning. I know it had to be on their minds and on their heart. It factored in a little bit.”
Reports for why Lancaster was put on leave are unconfirmed.
In the sixth inning, Resurrection collected five of its 14 hits and scored five runs, and all came with two outs. Fueling that inning was the Panthers’ poor defensive play, as an error and three passed balls put Resurrection’s runners in constant scoring position.
“They put the ball in play and they put pressure on you,” Ladner said. “I give them credit. They put the ball in play when it mattered most; the ball found some weak spots, found some places that it dropped in and a couple of errors.”
In total, Lumberton finished with four errors, had four passed balls and wild pitches get past the catcher and Resurrection had three stolen bases.
“We made a few errors tonight,” Ladner said. “We are going to go back and we are going to reevaluate some things. If we have to move some people around in different spots to get our best defense out there in big ball games, then we’ll do that.”
Despite the final stat line, Lumberton’s starting pitcher Jared Tribett had a strong outing until the sixth inning. After the fifth inning, Tribett allowed three runs off seven hits – one was a two-run home run, and he walked one batter. By the end of the night, however, he allowed seven earned runs off 12 hits and struck out seven.
“I thought Jared pitched an outstanding game,” Ladner said. “The senior worked his tail off to get to this point. He gave us a chance to win tonight and unfortunately we just didn’t back him up on the defensive end.”
On the mound for Resurrection was Elijah Watts, who kept the Lumberton offense at bay, which as a team was hitting .369 entering the game. Watts allowed two runs off two hits, walked two batters and struck out 10 in 5.2 innings pitched.
“The kid is a pretty good player,” Ladner said. “Good fast ball [and] decent curveball. He just kept us off balance the whole night. It seemed like he was trying to throw us inside a little more and jammed us on a lot of pitches. Got us frustrated a little bit at times. We’ve hit the ball well this year, that’s no secret. We’ve got several guys who can hit the ball well.
“They did a good job of scouting and knowing how to pitch us, and they pitched us well.”
Lumberton will travel to Resurrection Friday.