Cavaliers get shutout win over Grangers
Published 1:01 pm Wednesday, February 28, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Chandler Lott delivered a seven-inning masterpiece on Tuesday, pitching a two-hit shutout to lead Callaway to a 5-0 home win over the LaGrange Grangers.
Lott was given more flexibility from head coach Dusty Hubbard as far as pitch count goes for Tuesday’s game, and he took advantage of that.
Lott needed 108 pitches to throw the shutout, and he struck out seven while giving up two hits and two walks.
“I’ve been kind of on a leash early in the season,” Lott said. “I had two games where I threw 80 pitches. (Hubbard) told me in the bullpen, you’re not on the clock today. You’ve got 110 if you need them.”
Lott was backed up by some outstanding defense, particularly from second baseman Austin Cardwell and shortstop Drake Wade.
Both players turned unassisted double plays that helped thwart potential rallies, and Wade made a Derek Jeter-esque play when he ranged to his left and fielded a ball that seemed headed for center field before going airborne and throwing a strike to first for an out.
“That’s always what I depend on,” Lott said of the tremendous defense. “Some people think when I go up there I’m trying to strike everybody out. If I’ve got a runner on first, all I’m trying to do is get my middle infield a play. If I get a groundball, I’ve got confidence they’re going to get a double play. I can trust them.”
Lott was in such command that Hubbard never even sent anyone to the bullpen to warm up.
“It all starts with him. He commanded the strike zone really well,” Hubbard said. “There were some times he got behind in the count. He didn’t have A-1 stuff today, but it was good enough. And we made some good plays.”
Callaway finished with eight hits against a pair of LaGrange pitchers.
Cardwell had two of those hits, including an RBI single in the fourth inning.
Trent Sheppard also had two hits, and Jabari Smith had an RBI hit.
Wade had a hit, and he also drove in a run with a groundout, Campbell had a hit and a run scored, and Lott had a single.
“I was proud of us offensively. We had some big hits,” Hubbard said. “I thought Trent had a good at-bat. He fouled off four or five pitches and got a big hit (in the fourth inning).”
While Callaway had some offensive success, it also benefited from some LaGrange defensive miscues.
LaGrange hurt itself with three costly errors that occurred during the fourth and fifth innings when Callaway scored all five of its runs.
John Morgan started for LaGrange and pitched four innings, and Ben Stogner threw the final two innings.
“Nobody can really afford to play that way and expect to win,” LaGrange head coach David Smart said. “They did a good job. Chandler threw the ball really well and did a good job. And they made some really good plays.”
LaGrange had a great chance to take the lead when it got two men on with one out in the top of the fourth.
Charles Crawford reached on a single and Trent Bailey walked, but the inning ended on a double play.
Wade fielded the ball at short, and he stepped on second and threw to first to end the inning.
Callaway jumped on top with three runs in the bottom of the fourth.
With one out, Sheppard fouled off a handful of two-strike pitches before he drove the ball up the middle for a base hit.
Smith then reached base when his pop-up was misplayed, and Callaway had two men on with one out.
Next up was Cardwell, and his RBI single gave the Cavaliers the first run of the game.
Destin Patrick reached on an infield error, allowing another run to score, and Wade’s RBI groundout gave Callaway a 3-0 lead.
After Lott set LaGrange down in order in the top of the fifth, Callaway went back to work in the bottom of the inning.
It looked like the Grangers were going to get out of the inning with no runs scoring, but Sheppard’s ground ball with two outs was misplayed, allowing Campbell to score the Cavaliers’ fourth run.
Smith capped the scoring with an RBI single to give Callaway a 5-0 cushion.
In the top of the sixth, Cole Crawford led off with a base hit, but Cardwell turned the double play before Lott ended the inning with a strikeout.
The Grangers won’t have long to put the loss behind them.
LaGrange will host the LaGrange Toyota Invitational from Thursday through Saturday, and it will play four games in three days.
First up will be Thursday’s game against Pace (Fla.) on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Callaway finishes its week with a game at Pike County on Friday.