By all accounts, the Lakota West vs. Mason game on Wednesday would be classified a “big game” and one both teams would have circled on the calendar. For the last five years, a Mason or Lakota West team has finished at the top of the GMC. Going into Wednesday’s game, Lakota West was tied with Fairfield in 1st place while Mason was sitting one game behind. In a seesaw battle of GMC titans, the Lakota West Firebirds put a two game cushion between themselves and the Mason Comets after surviving a 7-6, eight inning ball game at Firebird Field.
The Birds (13-2, 9-2) took an early lead in the 1st winning when the leadoff batter, Bryce Johnson walked and 4-hole batter Jake Kates knocked him in with a single to right field. The Comets (11-4, 7-4) battled back in the top of the 3rd when the top of their batting order rattled off four consecutive hits on Sophomore Max Kiker who only allowed 6 total hits in 5 2/3 innnings.
Lakota West jumped back to the lead in the bottom of the fifth when 9-hole hitter Senior Frankie Schmitt started the inning with a base hit up the middle. Bryce Johnson followed with a triple scoring Schmitt. Chase Wullenweber followed with a single scoring Johnson. The hot bats continued in the inning when Jake Kates hit a double moving Wullenweber to 3rd. Senior Dominic Schivone followed with a 2RBI single giving the Firebirds a 5-3 lead heading into the 6th inning.
Mason wasted no time tying up the game scoring three runs on a two-out rally in the top of the 6th. Junior AJ Petersen responded in the bottom of the 6th leading with a single. Schmitt moved Petersen to second base on a sacrifice bunt. Schmitt took advantage of his speed and stole 3rd base before heading home for the tying run on a wild pitch.
Both teams went scoreless in the 7th and moved into the 8th inning. Junior Konrad Kowalk did quick work of the Comets in the 8th allowing only a double, but no runs. Once again, Schmitt led the inning utilizing his speed reaching base on a bunt. Johnson followed with a successful bunt of his own and the Comets intentionally walked Wullenweber. Senior Brennen Martin finished the game with an RBI bunt of his own scoring Schmitt.
The Firebirds will battle the Comets again on Friday at Prasco Park, 7pm as part of the 6th annual Skyline Chili Reds Futures High School Showcase. Admission is free and fans will receive a voucher good for a free View Level ticket to one of the 2017 Reds home games at Great American Ball Park and a coupon for a FREE Skyline Chili Coney.