LOOGOOTEE — The Loogootee baseball team has aspirations for playing baseball in June, and heading into the postseason it might be playing its best ball of the season.
The Class A No. 12 Lions (14-7) defeated No. 7 Orleans (15-6) 5-3 Monday afternoon at Les Page Field behind a balanced offensive attack.
Loogootee got on the board quickly when leadoff hitter Jesse Horney drew a walk, stole second and scored the first run of the game on a Matt Mathies single to left field. Mathies, however, was thrown out attempting to stretch the hit to a double. The Lions pushed the lead to 3-0 on Will Nonte’s two-run single, which scored Waylon Matthews and Trevor Resler.
Loogootee then pushed the lead to 5-0 by tacking one run in each of the next two innings. First, Casey Miller notched a two-out RBI single to score Horney, and then in the fifth inning, Resler added a vital two-out insurance run off a wild pitch.
“We put the ball in play when we needed to,” said Loogootee coach Roger Bailey. “We got some runs with two outs, sometimes that doesn’t happen in this game, but we did it tonight.”
Loogootee junior starting pitcher Matt Mathies was brilliant through five innings, while allowing just three hits and striking out four - the sixth was a different story. Orleans managed to scratch across three runs on four hits to put real pressure on the Lions.
Orleans got RBI singles from Steven Phillips and Alec Meeks along with a sacrifice fly from Tommy Mitchell to cut the lead to 5-3 after six innings.
Mathies quelled any thought of a seventh inning comeback when the junior struck out two the final two batters of the game to finish the contest with eight strikeouts overall.
“Matt (Mathies) was pretty efficient on the mound,” Bailey said. “He did a nice job of staying ahead of hitters. I take some of the responsibility for the sixth inning, because I was calling pitches. When you got the 5-0 lead you talk about late in the game ‹ pound the zone. I called one too many fastballs in the third or fourth time through the lineup, so they’d seen him and I¹ll take the bad one on that.”