Cougars breeze past Wildcats

Lakewood pitcher Ryan Martin, left, tossed six strong innings in a 7-1 victory over Archbishop Murphy. -
Lakewood pitcher Ryan Martin, left, tossed six strong innings in a 7-1 victory over Archbishop Murphy.
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In a game that took only an hour and a half to complete March 14, the Lakewood Cougars baseball team blew out Archbishop Murphy Wildcats 7-1 behind sharp pitching and excellent defense.
Starter Ryan Martin tossed six strong innings and got plenty of help behind him from shortstop Marcus Spears who made several nice stabs in the deep hole at short.
Both teams started the game quickly, with Archbishop driving in a run in the top half of the first inning and Lakewood answering in the bottom half. The game settled in from there and appeared to be headed for a pitchers duel Archbishop proved to be part of their own troubles in the bottom of the third.
After a brilliantly pitched top half of the inning that saw Ryan Martin mow down two batters on strikes, the Cougars offense came alive. The inning started with a seemingly innocuous single to left. Marcus Harkins followed with a towering home run putting the Cougars up 3-1. The whole Cougar team received a jolt of energy. The inning continued with a walk, then a misplaced bunt attempt, leaving the Cougars with two men on and still nobody out. A single to center followed and then two more Archbishop errors allowed more Cougar batters to reach base. Finally, Jordan Stoffer came up and smashed a two run single right up the gut of the defense, giving the Cougars their final tally of seven runs. A Wildcat relief pitcher stopped the bleeding but the damage was already done.
Martin helped himself in the top half of the fourth, after allowing runners to reach second and third base. He fielded a hot shot back at the mound and prevented any scoring by Archbishop. Martin continued to get help from his defense, as the infield made several difficult put-outs behind him.
Stoffer pitched the top of the seventh inning in relief, allowing only a hit batter before retiring the side.
After the game, Stoffer commented, We worked harder than they did today. Our team wanted it more.
Coach Larry Delaney had only good things to say following the victory. We got solid pitching and zero errors. We made no mental mistakes. I told the guys were on the right track.

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