Prep baseball: Legacy strikes down Erie

Apr. 22—ERIE — Outside of being hit by a pitch, nothing stings more in baseball than giving up a run with an error. Three in a row? That's just painful.

On Monday afternoon, Legacy's offense continued to bruise Erie left and right, including three early runs on errors, before pulling away to defeat the Tigers with a 9-2 finish. The win came as much-needed relief for a team that had been battling through a brutal schedule the past few weeks, including losses to four teams ranked in the top 20 of CHSAA's Selection & Seeding Index.

"It's super refreshing, and we're going to use this to build some momentum. This is a busy week, and we have a busy stretch as we go. We're just going to keep it moving. Keep it rolling," Legacy junior pitcher Christopher Jewett said. "We try to take advantage of when we get those kinds of things (errors) and we really emphasize small ball to do that. That's just all part of our game plan."

Jewett tossed four innings, giving up only two earned runs in the process. Designated hitter Lucas Kelenhoffer knocked in three runs, all off of a double-turned-attempted-triple in the top of the seventh. Erie pitcher Kaveh Meredith struck out three through 5.2 innings.

Both squads maintained the status quo through two quick innings, as Jewett and Meredith steadied their teams from the mound. Then the Tigers lost the plot. It began with a catcher error in the top of the third, then snowballed with two more miscues over the next two at-bats. Each one allowed a Lightning runner to come home. Once Legacy's offense started to pull at that thread, the whole knit unraveled.

"It was a chaotic game all around," said Erie junior second baseman Taylor McMaster, who ended the game with three hits. "We didn't play very good defensively. It happens in baseball, but we're a better defensive team than that."

The Lightning continued to build up their lead over the next few frames, even as the Tigers scored a run here and there to stanch the defensive bleeding a bit.

Erie's best chance to take over the game — or, at the very least, close a 5-2 gap — came in the bottom of the sixth inning. With one out down, the Tigers loaded the bases with a walk and back-to-back base hits.

The Lightning left all of them stranded. Maddox Burnett grounded into an odd double-play, starting with a fielder's choice to get McMaster out at second. McMaster, on his way back up, caught the leg of Legacy shortstop Chase Hoelting and was subsequently called for runner interference.

Legacy pounded one last nail in the coffin in the top of the seventh with another four runs, all of which it earned thanks to hits from Hoelting and Kelenhoffer. Erie couldn't recover. The Lightning improved to 4-6-1 with the victory, and will head next to Rocky Mountain on Tuesday.

Erie, falling to 7-6, hopes to bounce back against Fairview at home on the same day.

"Coming out tomorrow, we just want more," McMaster said. "We want to win. I think boys (have been) really good about that. We come out with a loss and the next day, we come out with a win and play pretty good the next day."