Baseball: Kevin Smith, St Laurence too strong for Simeon
Updated: March 24, 2012 5:01PM
St. Laurence junior Kevin Smith had Saturday’s game against No. 6 Simeon circled for a good month. And rightfully so. The early-season matchup featured two of the area’s best teams and a handful of high-level prospects.
If Smith was overly amped for the game, you couldn’t tell. The 6-3 right-hander calmly disposed of Simeon, throwing a complete-game three-hitter to lead No. 3 St. Laurence to a 6-0 victory in Burbank.
“My main goal was to stay relaxed,” said Smith, who is verbally committed to Creighton as a two-way player. “I have been waiting for this game since the schedule came out. I just wanted to play Viking baseball; just stay within ourselves and play hard.”
Simeon (6-1) only advanced to second base twice, and the first time the runner was quickly thrown out from left field on an overly aggressive turn in the first inning. Using a solid three-pitch mix, Smith walked only one, struck out three and retired the side in three of his seven innings.
“Kevin was in complete control the entire game,” St. Laurence coach Pete Lotus said. “He did a great job of staying composed throughout the game. He was outstanding.”
While Smith was dealing, St. Laurence (4-0) took advantage of five Simeon errors, seven walks and two hit batsmen. The Vikings scored three runs in the second inning, two coming on a bases-loaded walk and bases-loaded hit batsman.
Smith also led the offense, going 2-for-4 with a double and reached base all four times. Senior third baseman Zach Lewis laced a two-run single in the fourth to give the Vikings a 6-0 advantage. Sophomore centerfielder Brad Wood, who made two impressive plays in the field, walked three times and had a sacrifice fly in his four plate appearances.
Senior first baseman Brandon Mallder, who singled and drove in a run, missed hitting a grand slam by a foot in the third inning, but sophomore right fielder Darius Day made a fantastic running catch into the wall.
“Simeon is a great ballclub,” Smith said. “Our whole dugout was into it every pitch. It was a great all-around game for us.”
Simeon’s Day, who is the No. 1-ranked sophomore in the state, pitched well in relief of junior Elbert Dunnigan. The left-hander allowed no earned runs and struck out four in three innings. Senior catcher Blake Hickman, an Iowa recruit, doubled for Simeon with two outs in the fourth inning.
“That’s a good team,” Simeon coach Leroy Franklin said of St. Laurence. “We just got beat. You can’t make five errors, and we didn’t hit the way I thought we’d hit. St. Laurence just beat us. That pitcher was good.”