Oliver no-hitter gives Lawrence 17 wins

Published 11:07 am Thursday, April 23, 2009

MERRY HILL – Sweet Seventeen, with near-perfection.

That’s the number of wins the defending NCISAA 1-A state champion Lawrence Academy baseball team has following their home Tarheel Independent Conference win, 21-0, over Albemarle School on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Daniel Oliver picked up the no-hitter allowing just two runners to reach base, and only one to make it into scoring position. Along the way, he registered 14 strikeouts in the game which was shortened to four-and-a-half innings under the 10-run rule.

Jesse Ambrose drove in four runs going 2-for-3 at the plate. Six Warrior sluggers collected base hits in the game with Shane Leggett, Mason Hughes, Hank Cobb, and Ryan Sawyer getting two hits apiece and Hughes scoring four runs. Every Lawrence player scored at least one run.

“We got a chance to let some of the guys who don’t play regularly to play today,” said coach Jacob Harrell. “A lot of young guys that show a lot of potential for the upcoming year.”

Those Warrior regulars certainly earned the rest with their play over the past week and a half.

On April 21st the team returned to the site of their first loss of the season, Greenbrier Christian Academy in Chesapeake, Virginia; but this time they picked up a win against powerful Phoebus High School of Hampton, 15-0, thanks to five home runs.

Chad Whitehead got the win on the mound and hit two home runs while Evan Holton also stroked a pair of round-trippers and Daniel Oliver got the other.

Then, during Easter break, they won two of three games in the Tarboro Easter Tournament. Downing Timber Creek of New Jersey, 3-2, in eight innings before falling to host school, Tarboro High School, 7-6, also in eight innings.

Lawrence came back from a five-run deficit to tie the game and send it into extra innings before losing on a walk-off RBI.

They rebounded from that loss the next night to top SouthWest Edgecombe in the consolation game, 15-5, and took a Monday TIC win on the road at Pungo.

“We’ve been playing against some pretty tom competition and all that work is just preparation,” added Harrell. “We need everybody to be sharp for what we’ve got coming up.”

Tuesday against the Colts, the Warriors got four runs in the bottom of the first inning. After Shane Leggett walked, Mason Hughes singled him to third base and Hughes took second one pitch later on a balk call that allowed Leggett to come home with the first run of the game.

Daniel Layton then picked up the first of his two RBI with a sacrifice fly and after Lawrence loaded the bases on an error and two base on balls, Cobb and Tyler Brickhouse delivered run scoring singles to make it 4-0.

Lawrence sent 15 men to the plate in the second inning and scored nine runs. Taylor Thompson with the big blow to drive in a pair, while six other Warriors delivered run scoring hits.

The only excitement for Albemarle came in the third inning before Lawrence closed out the scoring with eight more runs in the bottom of the frame. In the top of the inning, Oliver surrendered a two-out walk and the batter stole second. However, he was stranded there as Oliver registered his eighth strikeout.

“We’ve got a young team,” said Colts coach David Sanders. “They want to play, but we’ve got a long way to go and we’re just going to have to keep on trying until we get there.

“Lawrence showed good sportsmanship,” he added. “It could’ve been a lot worse.”

The Warriors (17-3) take to the road next as they close out the month of April with three straight TIC games at Terra Ceia, Ridgecroft and Hobgood. They’ll then return home for ‘Senior Day’ on May 1 against Terra Ceia at Merry Hill.