By Kyle Lehnick
The Lehman Lobo baseball team came to play Friday afternoon in a district matchup against the Westlake Chaparrals. Finishing the game, however, was another matter.
The Lobos leapt to an early 4-1 lead after the first inning but couldn’t hold on as Westlake produced the runs needed for a come-from-behind 9-5 victory in eight innings.
Westlake benefitted from consistent pitching by junior Diego Cruz. Cruz threw a complete game with seven strikeouts, allowing only five base hits.
Lobo catcher Ryan Castillo opened up the scoring in the first after two outs had been made with an impressive solo home run to left-center field.
Martin Santos and Jesse Garcia followed the home run up with base hits and were brought home by a Micah Tambur triple. Tambur was brought home by first baseman Luke Stanaland before the inning was over.
Lehman maintained a 4-1 lead until the sixth inning. Westlake managed to get a few more runners on base between the 2nd and 6th inning. Poor base running along with keen fielding by the Lobos kept the visitors from reaching home.
Westlake’s Patrick Gilligan hit a solo home run in the sixth that went unanswered by the Lobos. Going into what should’ve been the final inning, Lehman led 4-2.
But the Chaps exploded in their last at bat.
In the top of the seventh, Westlake put up three base hits in a row and loaded the bases. Two of those runners were brought home tying the score 4-4. The runs were stopped when Gilligan was caught stealing third base.
Westlake’s pitcher Cruz dominated the bottom of the seventh, throwing three consecutive strikeouts and thus bringing the game to an extra inning.
In extras, the Chaparrals unmercifully put up five runs utilizing sacrifice bunts, and taking advantage of Lehman’s relief pitching. Westlake put six runners on base in the final inning, out of its total 13 hits on the day.
Trailing by five and with two outs, Lehman managed to get Luis Jimenez on base due to a fielding error. Castillo and Santos then earned base hits, Santos bringing Jimenez home. However, the rally was cut short by a routine ground ball.
The Lobos will travel to play at Akins at 7 p.m. on Friday. The Lobos should provide an interesting and fun matchup versus crosstown rival Hays at Lehman High at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.