By John Sherrard, Correspondent
LA MIRADA – Former Chicago Cubs infielder and Hall of Famer Ernie Banks once said, “It’s a great day for a ball game, let’s play two.”
The Lakewood and La Mirada high school baseball teams did just that Thursday.
In a rare weekday twinbill, visiting Lakewood won the opener 4-2, and La Mirada edged the Lancers 4-3 in the second game.
Longtime coaches Kim Brooks of La Mirada and Spud O’Neil of Lakewood (5-4), have been scheduling these preseason games for years.
“Spud and I (have been playing) every year for awhile,” Brooks said of the traditional nonleague doubleheader. “It’s a great series.
“We out-hit them in the first game and left more men on base and they got the key hit and we didn’t.
“It was really good that in the first inning (second game) where, boom, we got a two-out base hit and scored a run.”
Lakewood (4-4-1), which swept the two games last season, never trailed in the opener and led 4-0 in the fourth before the Matadores scored.
The second game was a different story as La Mirada senior Johnny Hills, who reached on a fielders’ choice in the first inning, took advantage of a balk by Lakewood starter Sam Roberts and a wild pitch to advance to third.
Catcher Trevor Lancaster (2 for 3, double) singled home Hills for the early 1-0 lead.
“The first game we didn’t hit at first and we came out late and lost, (but) in the second game we scored early and came out with the `W’, ” Lancaster said.
“I like playing doubleheaders, especially against Lakewood.”
Starting pitcher Blake Wilson (three innings, one run) got out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the second inning and the Matadores scored twice in the bottom of the inning to increase the lead to 3-0.
After walks to senior outfielder James Myres (single, walk) and junior catcher Jeff Murray (two walks), shortstop Noah Hutchings sacrificed the runners to second and third and third baseman Trent Rojo then doubled in both runners.
Each team scored in the third. Lakewood senior shortstop J.P. Crawford hit a two-run home run in the fourth off La Mirada reliever Eric Tapper to center to make it 4-3. Catcher Kyler Kolb (2 for 2), who blooped a single to right, scored on Crawford’s homer.
Rojo came on in relief in the seventh and preserved the win for Tapper. The game ended on a line right back to Rojo, who started a double play.
“He (first baseman Nick Reeser) hit it right back at me and I threw it to first and game over,” Rojo said.
In the first game, senior pitcher Cody Kruip suffered the loss but was 2 for 4 and scored a run. Hutchings drove in both runs for La Mirada.