Looking back, this was one coin flip Lovett was happy to lose.
The Lions baseball team lost the coin toss to play as the visiting team in the decisive game at Westside, and Lovett scored quickly and often to rout the Patriots 12-1 in five innings Wednesday in a Class AA state quarterfinal series. Westside finished its season at 23-9 with a region championship and two state playoff series wins.
“We talked about it (Tuesday) night. We lost the coin flip, but we said, ‘That might not be a bad thing if we come out and get some runs early,’ ” Lions coach Lance Oubs said. “Things went well from there.”
Lovett (25-8) scored two runs in the first as leadoff hitter Grant Haley started it by getting hit by a pitch. The Lions went on to score at least one run in every inning except the third.
The offensive onslaught showcased Lovett’s pitching depth. Though Westside changed pitchers with two on and no outs in the top of the second in a 2-0 game, Lions pitcher Robbie Baker went the distance to get the win.
Lovett had 15 hits in the game, including four from Sean Reagan, whose triple in the fifth scored two runs as part of a seven-run inning.
But Westside’s bats were mostly quiet. The Patriots didn’t score until Mason Dodd crushed a pitch in the fifth for a home run.
Westside did get close to clawing back into the game, however. Trailing 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth, the Patriots loaded the bases before Baker got a strikeout to end the threat.
The loss ended the Patriots’ journey, but Westside’s run went to the final game of a quarterfinal series.
“Our guys did a good job,” Patriots coach Gerald Barnes said. “You always set your goals to win the region – that’s just part of it. We played good in the region games and kept kind of rolling. We have a lot of players that picked it up; it wasn’t one guy. Other than losing, we’re pleased with where we are.”