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‘Jackets get back on track with team win over Republic

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After two tough losses earlier in the week to the Branson Pirates and Kickapoo Chiefs, the Lebanon High School baseball team responded in a big way with a 12-2 run-rule victory over the Republic Tigers in five innings on Friday afternoon at Oley Scott Field.

The ‘Jackets (14-4 overall, 3-1 Ozark Conference) used nine hits, a seven run fourth inning, and a complete game performance from junior Chance Cromer to seal the victory against a Republic team that has put together solid performances during the spring season.

“Defensively, we have to do a lot of things better,” head coach Alex Weathermon said of his team’s three error day in the field. “Offensively, when we have a good approach at the plate ready to hit the ball hard, good things happen for us.

“We have a lot of different ways we can beat you offensively. That is a Republic team that played for a district title against Nixa last year and returns a lot of starters from that team. For us to come out with Chance (Cromer) on the mound and go attack them like crazy, it was great.”

LHS stayed patient at the plate and chose their spots most of the game, especially to begin the fourth inning. The ‘Jackets got two walks and a hit batter to leadoff the bottom half of the inning. Junior Tony Myres knuckled a ball to right field for a hit to score a runner to make the score 4-2.

Myres was followed up by RBIs from Gavin Smith, Cole Milliken, Chance Cromer, Cole Dustin, and Bronsen Rhoads to cap off one of their better half innings of the spring.

“Our team has done a really good job of flushing things quickly, and I was proud of them for having that kind of innings today,” said Weathermon. “Tony (Myres) hasn’t been happy with the way he has hit at the plate this year, but I am thrilled with him because he is trying to play team baseball and trying to get on anyway he can. He is super beat up right now, so trying to take care of Tony will be a priority moving forward, but I was proud of him for getting that big inning started and flushing a couple of tough plays in the field.”

Lebanon wasted no time getting the scoring started. Smith led off the bottom of the first inning with a double to the right field fence, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and was driven in by Milliken on an RBI single.

The Tigers tied the game in the top of the second inning, but a leadoff walk to junior Braiden Lamontagne was followed up by a two-run blast by senior Dustin (1) to give LHS some breathing room and allowed Cromer to work calmly on the bump.

“Cole is a great senior leader for us,” said Weathermon. “He hits that huge home run for us and gets us two key runs. He (Dustin) has wanted to hit that first varsity home run, so to get that out of the way is awesome.

“My biggest thing with him is the maturity as far as not swinging out of his shoes to try and get another one. He took what the pitcher gave him and lined a ball up the middle over the shortstops head. He is helping us win ball games.”

Cromer pitched all five innings for LHS on Friday and picked up his second win of the season. He finished the day with two earned runs and allowed just three hits.

“Chance is doing a great job for us on the mound,” explained Weathermon. “He let his defense work behind him today with our outfield defense playing great. I have mentioned before that he will have a big role on the mound next year, and it looks like he is earning himself more and more opportunities each and every time he goes out on the mound.

“He is a guy we look up to and can’t explain the things he has brought to our team.”

Below is the box score from Friday’s game:

2Gavin Smith332111100
10Cole Milliken312200100
8Chance Cromer411200100
1Hoyt Honey301111000
7Braiden Lamontagne120020000
16Cole Dustin222410001
23Josh Zeigenbein110020000
18Bronsen Rhoads110110000
3Tony Myres211100000
Chance Cromer, W (2-0)5.0322400
Picture of Alex Boyer

Alex Boyer