Suffolk baseball rams Lions in tough sixth inning

by Beacon Staff • April 8, 2009

For the second time in two games, one big inning decided the Lions' fate. Against Suffolk, however, it was the Lions who were on the receiving end of a crooked number that decided the outcome in just one inning.

With the game tied at three after the fifth inning, the Rams exploded in the sixth for 11 runs, leaving the Lions in the dust for the first of two wins over Emerson on the day.

"There was a couple plays in the field that just took the momentum away," said freshman pitcher Zak Levine, who started the game for the Lions. "But in that last inning, I just didn't have any juice left in me. Next time I got to keep my stuff under control and keep the mistakes to a minimum."

Those mistakes got the best of the Lions in both games of the doubleheader against Suffolk, leading to losses of 14-3 and 9-1 respectively. Coach David Hanley said he remains confident that if they can work towards correcting the errors, the Lions will be able to take down anyone.

"It doesn't matter," said Hanley. "We didn't play to hang with them for five innings-we played to win. We're a very good team talent-wise, I think we can play with any team in the league. It's about execution, throwing strikes and playing defense."

For the first five innings of game one, the Lions went punch for punch with Suffolk, which has established itself as a GNAC powerhouse. As of now, they sit at second place in the conference, compared to the Lions, who are currently in fourth. The Lions even took the lead over the Rams 3-1 on a 3-run Brian Kitson double.

However, in the fifth inning, an error, two hit batters, and a couple walks lead to an 11-run inning in favor of the Rams. The Lions were left scrambling for runs in their final two at bats, unable to salvage the game.

"Through five we played right with them," said Levine, a studio production major. "Our talent is right with them-we just can't afford to give up big innings like that."

Still, junior Peter Karl said these kind of bumps in the road are to be expected from such a young team. With time, they will improve, and that will translate into wins.

"[Levine]'s got amazing stuff," said Karl, a broadcast journalism major. "But he's young-he'll get his control. We know the talent's there. Through and through, our best nine are just as good as [Suffolk]'s best nine. But when we get deeper, we kind of fall off-and that's what we're building towards."

Hanley said the small things just need to be continually hammered home before the improvement will come.

"We're still at the point where we have guys not in position, and not knowing what they're doing," said Hanley. "It's going to hurt us, and they know it. We just have to keep working, and we'll start to see results."

Though the box score may indicate a whopping 14-3 loss at the hands of the Rams, it was in fact much closer. Aside from the one inning, the Lions had a tie game in play with the second place team in the conference-that means big things for this young team, and Karl said they know it.

"That was huge to show we could stick with them through five innings," said the captain and team leader in homers, RBIs and total bases. "Usually when you play them, you get blown out and just play like crap all game. All in all, it's a confidence builder, and we'll just carry it with us."