High School Sports

Ranch settles for victory


- As if he were rattling off a grocery list, Dave Moates mentioned all the things his Lakewood Ranch baseball team did wrong Thursday night.

The Mustangs couldn't exceute a hit-and-run. They had a runner on third base with no one out and couldn't bring him in. They were caught stealing three times.

"That was how you do not play the game of baseball," said Moates, Lakewood Ranch's head coach.

But the scoreboard doesn't lie. And when Thursday's important Class 5A-District 12 contest between the Mustangs and host Bayshore was over, Moates could find solace in a 5-1 victory.

"For that, we've got to be very happy," Moates said. "I've come over here and gotten hammered before."

What the Mustangs (13-3, 8-3) did do was cash in on a number of late oppurtunities, scoring four of their runs over their final three at-bats thanks to the upper portion of their order. The big blow came courtesy of Gus Schlosser, who grounded a two-run double down the right field line during the top of the seventh inning.

But leadoff hitter Mike Ohlman reached base all four times he was up - he singled twice and walked twice - and No. 3 hitter Jon Griffin singled three times and drove in a run during the first.

Griffin was also key with his arm, limiting Bayshore to four singles in scoring a complete-game victory. In tune with the rest of Lakewood Ranch's night, Griffin wasn't perfect, allowing a baserunner in every inning and walking five. But he did enough to run his record to 4-1, and allowed just one hit after the third inning.

"He did a nice job, but he was 3-2 on a lot of guys, he got behind on a lot of guys," Moates said. "But he overcame it."

Bayshore (8-3, 5-3), ranked 10th in Class 5A, could never really overcome Griffin. The Bruins' best chance came in the third, when they had runners on the corners and two outs and the game knotted at 1. Griffin slid out of the jam when Adam Chodorowski, who was pinch-running at first, stumbled when trying to beat Griffin's pickoff attempt and was tagged out.

Nonetheless, Bayshore coach Charlie Smythers knew that one play didn't decide the ballgame.

"We didn't have any fire in us (Thursday) night," he said. "Why? I don't know, because we're playing an awfully good team. It was, on our part, an ugly baseball game. We didn't play sharp like we've been playing."

David Figueroa knocked in the only run of the night for the Bruins, who will get a shot at redemption when Lakewood Ranch hosts Bayshore at 7 p.m. today.

"Charlie's a (heck) of a coach. He knows what he's doing, and they're a fine ballclub . . . (Thursday), we just got lucky," Moates said. "We did some nice things."

Lakewood Ranch 100 011 2 - 5 8 0

Bayshore 010 000 0 - 1 4 3

WP - Jon Griffin (4-1). LP - Zach Avery (3-1). 2B - Gus Schlosser (LR). Team Records: Lakewood Ranch 13-3, 8-3 Class 5A-District 12; Bayshore 8-3, 5-3.