Looking for its second win of the season, the Lakeland Babe Ruth Prep baseball team couldn't find it Wednesday as the team fell to Eagle River 16-8 at home.
The game looked like it would be close earlier on, with the game tied a 1-1 after the first inning.
However, Eagle River had other ideas. Scoring seven runs in the second, Eagle River took solid command of the game.
With Lakeland unable to answer in the second, Eagle River doubled its score with eight more runs in the top of the third to lead Lakeland 16-1.
Lakeland began mounting a comeback in the bottom of the third, scoring two, followed by two more in the fourth and three runs in the fifth. But Lakeland was unable to pressure Eagle River to get back into the game, falling 16-8 despite scoring seven straight runs.
"(It was) not good," head coach Doug Etten said. "We seemed to take a step back in our progress, but mainly on the mental side. We didn't come ready to play again and it showed."
Lakeland sent two pitchers to the mound in Zach Peterson and Henry Valliere.
Peterson threw two innings, allowing seven hits and 15 of Eagle River's 16 runs, but only six of which were earned. Peterson tossed three walks and three strikeouts while on the mound.
Valliere threw for the remainder of the game, allowing only a single hit for one run, unearned. Valliere threw two walks and two strikeouts.
"While I thought our pitchers again highlighted a positive on the evening, we still lacked a cohesiveness that will only come through time on the diamond together, I hope," Etten said. "We know we are a better baseball team than how we played the last two nights out, we just need to take the bull by the horns and start turning things on when we walk onto the field, not in the third or fourth inning."
But while Lakeland wasn't able to play their best, Etten credited Eagle River for their play.
"Long story short, Eagle River did a good job putting the ball in play," he said. "We seemed to be surprised by that and in turn played poor defensively. Our pre-pitch routines and communication has to get better if this team wants to win baseball games. Will they accept the challenge is the next question."
Lakeland will next travel to Merrill to face Merrill Gray before returning home on Wednesday to face Tomahawk Gold at the 70 West Complex.
Ben Gauger may be reached via email at email@example.com.