The Orange Lutheran Lancers improved to 2-1 at the National High School Invitational with a 7-4 victory over Brookwood, Ga. Garret King threw his third complete game of the season to run his record to 4-0 on the season.
After going down in order in the first, the Lancers took advantage of some errant pitching by Brookwood in the second. Tommy Bell led off the inning with a walk then Josh Morgan was hit by a pitch followed by another walk to Griffin Haupert to load the bases. Matt Stumme battled through an eight pitch at-bat before drawing a walk giving the Lancers and early 1-0 lead.
King continued his early season success needing only 25 pitches to get out of the first three innings. "He's been very impressive thus far" said head coach Eric Borba. "For a sophomore to show the composure he's shown has been a blessing for us. He's a fierce competitor and, most importantly, he throws strikes and let's his defense do the work".
Jason Martin led off the top of the fourth with a base hit to right field before advancing to second on a Morgan fly out. Two batters later Stumme laced an RBI double down the right field line scoring Martin to give the Lancers a 2-0 advantage. "(Stumme) is one of the hardest working players on this team" said Borba. "He's been tinkering a bit with his swing and it worked out for him today. He's so good behind the plate for us that it's just nice to see him be rewarded for all the work he puts into his swing".
Conner Sullivan led off the fifth inning with a single before being sacrificed to second by Dalton Frize. After a walk to Cody Nulph and a passed ball, Bell's sacrifice fly scored Sullivan and moved Nulph to third. Martin then laced a single to left field to score Nulph giving the Lancers a 4-0 lead.
King then rolled through the fifth inning throwing only five pitches. "I was feeling it today" said King. "I was able to throw strikes with most of my pitches and when you have the type of defense like we do all I have to do is let them work".
Brookwood used a double, an OLu error, and a few seeing-eye singles to tie the game in the sixth before a King strikeout ended the inning. "I was a bit concerned at first because they only hit one ball hard" said King. "The rest of them were little dinks and dunks which found holes. Then Cody came over and said some encouraging words which helped me get refocused".
In the seventh, Frize got things started with a hot shot to center field for a base hit. Nulph followed with his second hit of the game. Travis Blue came in to pinch hit and sacrificed Frize and Nulph over. Frize scored on a passed ball. Martin was intentionally walked before Morgan's fielders choice led to two more runs.
King then came in and needed only 8 pitches to close out the victory for the Lancers.
"The character this team has shown not only this week, but throughout the season, is really impressive" said Borba. "We knew what type of kids we had, but I think they're starting to realize it too. This was a great win for us, that's a very good ball club and we're fortunate to come out on top".
The Lancers will close out the NHSI tomorrow. Game time and opponent are TBA.