The Lions appear to be gearing up for another deep postseason run with a 7-1 overall record going into last Friday’s game against Lambert.
Despite losing standouts such as ace pitcher Jack Geraghty — now at North Carolina — and second baseman Robbie Blair, the Lions haven’t missed a beat so far.
“Obviously, I’m extremely pleased,” Lovett coach Lance Oubs said. “We had some question marks coming into the season. We lost our middle infielders and our No. 1 pitcher. We thought we would have some guys returning on the mound that would do a good job for us. But, I think what we’ve really seen this year is some of the younger guys stepping up and filling in and doing a good job.”
Lovett looks to maintain its streak of state final four appearances that it continued last year, when the Lions went 22-14 and lost to Pierce County two-games-to-one in the semifinals.
The Lions have been to the semis six of the last seven years and won the Class AA state championship in 2006 and ’09 during that time.
“I think that can be attributed to the talent level of the players that came through here at Lovett, but also buying into the philosophy of ‘we’re going to do the little things that will help make us successful in the game of baseball,’” Oubs said. “I think we’ve had a good coaching staff every year I’ve been here, which is always a plus, and having kids buy into what we’re asking them to do.”
Lovett is coming off of a successful spring break trip to Tampa, Fla., where it defeated Tampa Prep 13-3 March 6, Berkeley Prep 12-0 March 9 and Tampa Catholic 7-0 March 9.
“All three of them were quality ball clubs,” Oubs said. “We haven’t had a whole lot of success on spring break trips. We’ve gone down there seven of my nine years here. We’ve never won more than one game down there and that can be attributed to a bunch of reasons. This team is really focused on some goals they set at the beginning of the year, and they’re working towards attaining those goals and this senior class has done an excellent job of leading the way.”
The Lions are also coming off a 4-3 win over Class AAAAAA powerhouse Walton last Wednesday.
With a strong pitching staff and a hitting attack that is starting to find its groove, Oubs said all the ingredients are in place for another successful season.
“We’ve got quality starting pitching and we’ve had some younger guys step up in relief to kind of shore up that area,” he said. “I think, right now, it’s a matter of keeping things going. We started the season off slowly, swinging the bats. But, we had some good games down in Florida, where we were swinging the bats well. It’s still a matter of continuing to work hard and build upon what we’ve done so well so far.”
Senior outfielder Mitchell Marino (.435), senior third baseman Sean Reagan (.409), senior catcher Brant Wells (.375) and junior designated hitter Drew Williams (.368) were the leading hitters as of last Friday.
On the mound, junior Mitch Stallings (3-0 record, 2.06 earned run average), senior Robbie Baker (2-1, 1.45) are the top starting pitchers. Senior Pearce Howell (1.17 ERA, one save) is the Lions’ leading reliever.