SCOTT TWP.- Unlike teammate Eric Grabowski a month earlier, Lakeland pitcher Kyle Kiehart’s game was not perfect. He was, however, able to hold Carbondale without a hit while striking out five in the Chiefs’ five-inning 10-0 win in the first round of the District 2 Class AAA playoffs.
“I was just trying to throw hard,” Kiehart said. “I like throwing the curve ball. It was working today and I threw it a little harder.”
Chiefs’ catcher James Blevins sparked the team’s offense early on with his speed. After earning a single, Blevins stole second and third base and scored on a throwing error.
“Coach always tells us to bear down and run with all we’ve got,” he said.
First baseman Shane Rivenburgh provided the second Lakeland run of the game in the first inning with an RBI single.
In the second innng, Chiefs’ second baseman Josh Natale turned a two-out walk into a run by stealing two bases and scoring on another throwing error.
“We’ve been aggressive on the base paths all year long,” Lakeland head coach Larry Piccini said. “We have a lot of speed and we like to use it.”
Lakeland struck for three runs in the third inning off Chargers’ pitcher Jarrod Arendt. After shortstop Eric Grabowski tripled, right fielder Tyler Brady knocked him in with a double. Two batters later, designated hitter Cody Delfino drove in Brady with a double of his own. Freshman third baseman Sean Pittack added the final run of the inning with an RBI single.
Kiehart’s perfect game was broken up with one out in the fourth inning when he walked Devon Surace. He recovered to retire the final two batters of the inning.
Lakeland added three more runs in the fourth inning capped by a sacrifice fly from Rivenburgh. Center fielder Joe Natale started off with a single and was driven in by a triple from Blevins that bounced off the top of the left field fence. The next batter, Grabowski, delivered an RBI double.
“The last two weeks, we’re starting to get hot with the bats,” Piccini said. “The top of the order is really producing for us.”
Mike Ciprian become the second and last Chargers base runner of the game when he drew a walk to lead off the top of the fifth innings. Kiehart rallied by striking out two of the last three batters to end the game.
“I though he was really sharp,” Piccini said of Kiehart. “He was able to throw his fastball and curve for a strike, keeping them off balance.”
After Josh Natale reached first after strikeout pitcher got behind the catcher, Joe Natale drove him in to end the game.”
Third-seeded Lakeland (14-1) was scheduled to host sixth-seed Meyers May 21 in the second round.