Third inning collapse dooms Lakers vs. Blue favorites

Duncan MacLean • May 17, 2019 at 12:15 AM

SPRING LAKE — Spring Lake and Catholic Central must have seen the rainclouds coming Thursday as they whipped through seven innings with strong defense.

The Cougars caught a big break in the third, as the Laker defense softened, letting by six runs. A solo homer in the top of the seventh punctuated the 7-1 loss for Spring Lake, who falls into a tie for third place in the O-K Blue after the series sweep, while Catholic remains in first.

“They are a good team,” said Spring Lake head coach Jeff Lindsey. “They faced our three best pitchers and were able to get the ball in play. So, we drop into a tie for third. If we had won here today, it would have given Allendale the title outright, now we will visit them and see what we can do. We are gonna fight for our spot.”

Spring Lake’s lone run came off the bat of Isiah Lindsey, bringing home Austin Schubert on an RBI single.

Jimmy Duer took the loss on the mound, throwing the complete game while giving up three earned runs on five hits.

The third inning served as an example of a strong hitting team taking advantage of defensive mistakes.

An error put the first Catholic baserunner in play, followed by a single and a stolen second base. With runners in scoring position, the Lakers cheated up in the outfield, only to get played by the Cougars.

The next baserunner took a shot to deep centerfield, over the head of the waiting Spring Lake fielders, making it all the way around the bases for a 3-RBI inside-the-park homerun.

Two more runs would score on errors, along with an earned RBI single, to round out the inning.

“It was just one of those things. Jimmy was controlling the strike zone well in the first two innings,” Lindsey said. “Then, the umpire got a little tight and in the third inning he got a little over the plate and Catholic can swing.”

After the blowup third, the Laker defense got things under control, dealing through the fourth, fifth and sixth innings in three batters each.

The Lakers had a few chances to pull back into the game as they stranded nine runners in scoring position. Austin Schubert led the offense with three hits, scoring Spring Lake’s only run.

“I was really shocked over the last two days,” Lindsey said. “We have had a bad time on the bases. That’s something we are usually strong at so we will get back to that here for the end of the season.”

With the conference season entering its final phase, Spring Lake has yet to nail down its team identity with new lineup looks still routine two months into the season.

“We’re still looking,” Lindsey said. “We change the lineup every game to try and figure more things out. We have guys with good games and bad games. Now we have to start honing that in for districts, but we have a busy schedule next week with three more conference games and Grand Haven on Friday.”

Now sitting in third place behind Catholic Central and Allendale, the Lakers have a chance to play spoiler down the stretch.

The Lakers return to action Tuesday to host Allendale for a doubleheader and will travel to finish off that series Wednesday before facing off with Grand Haven for a doubleheader May 24 at 4 p.m.

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