TAKING ONE HOME: Lancaster, Delta Charter hang on to top Beekman Charter

Published 12:33 am Thursday, April 14, 2016

FERRIDAY — Delta Charter School baseball coach Jarrett Hoffpuair had one question for pitcher Lee Lancaster as he and the Storm trotted off the field at the end of the top of the sixth inning:

“The seventh inning is yours, if you want it,” Hoffpauir said.

Lancaster fired back, “I want it.”

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The junior right-hander allowed a pair of two-out bloop singles before striking out the final batter of the game to clinch an 8-5 win over Beekman Charter in baseball action Wednesday.

“I knew what the answer was going to be,” Hoffpauir said. “I know what kind of kid (Lancaster) is and what kind of competitor he is. He wasn’t coming out of there.”

Lancaster’s final strikeout was his fifth of the game.

“I wanted to win,” Lancaster said. “I had to dig down deep and play for (my teammates).”

The win pushes Delta Charter’s overall record to 9-9 and 2-1 in district play, strong enough to place the Storm in sole possession of third place in the district.

“We’ve been progressing and playing as a team,” Lancaster said. “In the beginning of the season, we weren’t really playing as a team … but when we are able to put our talent together with playing together, we play well.”

The Storm had to come from behind to earn the win, after it fell behind 5-4 after the top of the fifth inning.

Delta responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame and tacked on one more in the sixth.

“We’ve been talking about it all year — playing seven innings,” Hoffpauir said. “We talk about it every single day. Earlier in the year, we would play four or five good innings and then (fall apart). We’ve just been preaching (playing seven innings), and, knock on wood, we’ve done it.”

The Storm got off to a strong start as Lancaster breezed through the first two innings, and Freddie Mango came through with a clutch to put his team on top 2-0 at the end of the second. The freshman outfielder laced a triple down the right-field line that scored Drake Smith, then Mango dashed from third to home after the ball was misplayed by Beekman Charter defense.

“He’s a threat every time he goes to the plate,” Hoffpauir said. “He stretches singles into doubles, and doubles into triples all the time.”

Beekman managed to tie the game 2-2 in the top of the third, but the Storm answered back with two more runs in the fourth.

Smith laced a run-scoring double to center, and Carson Curtis recorded a RBI ground out.

Smith finished the game with two hits and two RBIs.

“We were solid overall (at the plate),” Hoffpauir said. “We left a few runners on (base) that I would have liked to get in — we had some runners in scoring position with less than two outs, and we didn’t score, but that’s part of the learning process.”

Delta Charter will attempt to keep the momentum going today when it travels to district rival Delhi Charter.