Muskies capture first win of 2009
Athletics - posted on 3/16/2009
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Lakeland pitcher Lee Chepil didn't need all the run support, but he got it anyway.
Behind a strong performance from Chepil and a 20-hit offensive barrage, the Lakeland baseball team picked up its first win of the season, 17-4, over St. Lawrence in its first game at the Gene Cusic Classic at Terry Park.
The Muskies (1-2) scored three runs or more in three separate innings, tallying a season-high nine runs in the seventh. In that frame, Lakeland registered eight hits and three walks.
Every Lakeland hitter in the lineup had at least one hit on the day. Junior third baseman Doug Novak, sophomore second baseman Ryan Polizzi and freshman DH Alex Finke had three hits apiece.
"We came out focused today," Lakeland coach Chris Thousand said. "After going 0-2 yesterday, we wanted our first win. It was an overall team win today. Everyone accepted their role and did a great job."
Chepil (Ladysmith), who is known as "Lumberjack" by his teammates, picked up his first career win after surrendering three earned runs and no walks in six solid innings pitched.
Chepil set the tone early by striking out the side in the bottom of the first. He fanned five Saint batters for the game.
"It was awesome," Chepil said of getting his first win. "My cutter was working, and I hit my spots well, especially in the first inning. I had room for mistakes today and my teammates always picked me up right away in the next inning."
Thousand said Chepil struggled when he got behind in the count, but was more than satisfied with the performance.
"Lee did a great job, and is started in that first inning," Thousand said. "He really annonced his presence with authority."
The right-hander was helped out by solid defensive play, as well.
In the bottom of the third, with the Muskies holding a 2-0 advantage and a man on first base, St. Lawrence's Tim Harris hit a one-hopper to the left field fence. Freshman left fielder Mike Huber hit the cutoff man, sophomore shortstop Brad Young, with a frozen rope. Young then made a great throw to the plate to nail the runner by three steps.
It was a momentum-swinging play, and was symbolic of the Muskies' play on the afternoon.
Following the Lakeland offensive onslaught in the seventh, sophomore right hander Bill Miller pitched the seventh to close the game, which was stopped early due to the 10-run rule.
Matt Landers took the loss for St. Lawrence (1-3).
Novak (Algoma) led the Muskies with four RBIs. Sophomore right fielder Andrew Schartner (Sturgeon Bay) finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
Lakeland begins a doubleheader against Scranton tomorrow at 3 p.m. CST. Each game will be seven innings long.
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