Lincoln nine skins Cougars 9-1 in league play
The Lincoln High varsity baseball team kept their season perfect by defeating visiting Center 9-1 last Friday. The win gave the Fighting Zebras a 7-0 mark on the season and a 2-0 record within Pioneer Valley League competition.
Just as they have all season, the Zebras backed up a strong pitching performance with a flurry of offensive power.
The Zebras saw the ball well, collecting 14-total hits with three triples and two doubles. Only two Lincoln batters struck out, with the last one coming in the second inning.
Leadoff hitter Kody Kencke immediately set the tone by smashing the first pitch off Center starter Kevin Acuff to deep left field for a triple.
Ethan Liddle brought home Kencke on a sacrifice fly later in the inning. The score would be Kencke’s first of four on the afternoon. The senior second baseman was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle going 3-for-3 and drawing a base on balls. He scored in each of his plate appearances.
“I felt really good up there,” said Kencke after the game. “These past couple of games, I’ve just been seeing the ball really well.”
Hitting in the heart of the lineup, Liddle, Jake Sola, and Chris Rodriguez drove in five runs as a trio and provided most of the hits for Lincoln’s offense. After registering outs in each of their first at bats, the three went on to go 8-8 with four runs scored.
On the mound for the Zebras, Julio Martinez pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and striking out five.
Martinez’s best stretch of the night came after allowing an infield single to start the game. The pitcher then went on to retire the next seven batters. After loading the bases in the top of the fifth, Martinez’s afternoon ended with Liddle coming in on relief.
With Center mounting their biggest threat of the night, Liddle induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Liddle kept the Cougars hitless for the remainder of the game, striking out the last three batters to seal the win.
After the game, Lincoln head coach Troy Petersen spoke about his team’s performance and flexibility in manufacturing runs.
“This team, as a whole, is really playing well,” said Petersen. “But when one part is not hitting well, the other part just picks them up and goes from there.”
LINCOLN 9, CENTER 1
Cougars 000 100 0 – 1
Zebras 103 410 x – 9
LHS – Kencke 3-3, 4r, Sola 3-4, 2r, 1bi, Rodriguez 3-4, 2bi, Liddle 2-3, 2r, 2bi, Martinez 1-4, 1bi.