Top-ranked Lancers bounce back from loss, beat #2 Lawrence Free State at home

Joey Wentz struck out 13 in another complete game, shutout performance for SM East.
Joey Wentz struck out 13 in another complete game, shutout performance for SM East.

It didn’t take long for SM East’s nationally ranked baseball team to recover from its first loss of the season.

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SM East vs. Rockhurst

4:30 p.m. Wednesday
SM East field
Watts BBQ on hand for tailgating[/pullquote]

Four days after letting a big early lead over Olathe South slip away in a 14-13 loss, the Lancers found themselves back in the groove. Led by seven innings of one-hit, shutout pitching from senior Joey Wentz, the Lancers beat the defending Kansas 6A champion Lawrence Free State Firebirds 2-0 on their home field.

With the game moved from the 3&2 complex to SM East, which has a brand new synthetic turf field, on account of the wet weather, the Lancers gave the dozens of local fans packed on the south hill plenty to cheer for. Junior Luke Anderson, who has already committed to play college ball at Mizzou, took advantage of the opportunity to be the first batter of the game by smacking a home run off Firebirds pitcher Trevor Munsch.

“[He] got in a good hitters count and drove one out the ballpark in the very first at-bat of the game,” said coach Jarrod Ryherd. “That was huge. Just kind of shows the strength of our program that we’ve got guys who can really swing it.”

The Lancers plated another in the first — the final run of the game, as it turned out — when catcher Henry Churchill knocked in speedy freshman Phillip Cole, who was pinch running for Wentz, on an infield hit.

Wentz struck out 13 and walked none in his latest stellar pitching performance, and was backed up by some flashy defense from the Lancers’ infield.

“Our defense has been nails, and our pitching has been really, really good,” said Ryherd. “Those are really the strengths of our team, along with some timely hitting.”

Here’s Wentz’s delivery on the last out of Tuesday’s game:

The latest national high school baseball rankings from USA Today, which had done a story on Wentz Tuesday, put the Lancers at number nine in the country.

Ryherd said that his team was dealing well with all the attention it was receiving. Take a listen:

The Lancers will get another shot at delighting a home field crowd this afternoon when they take on rival Rockhurst at 4:30 p.m.

Freshman Phillip Cole scored the Lancers second run of the day on an infield hit by Henry Churchill.
Freshman Phillip Cole scored the Lancers second run of the day on an infield hit by Henry Churchill.
The Lancers got caught at the plate trying to add a run on an infield hit in the fifth inning. Ryherd said he's focused on improving the team's baserunning.
The Lancers got caught at the plate trying to add a run on an infield hit in the fifth inning. Ryherd said he’s focused on improving the team’s baserunning.
The early morning storms gave way to make a great afternoon for taking in some baseball from the SM East hill.
The early morning storms gave way to make a great afternoon for taking in some baseball from the SM East hill.
The Lancers have their minds set on adding a new entry to the state champion banner in left field.
The Lancers have their minds set on adding a new entry to the state champion banner in left field.