LEBANON - After three-straight losses in which they gave up double-digit runs, the Lebanon baseball team needed a strong pitching performance on Tuesday night against Western Boone.
And when his team needed him, senior Logan Elsbury delivered. Elsbury pitched a 3-hit shutout, striking out nine, leading the Tigers to a 7-0 win.
"We needed a good pitching performance today, and Logan Elsbury stepped up as a senior and was outstanding," Lebanon head coach Rick Cosgray said. "He pitched the way we needed, we got some big hits, and that's the type of baseball we want to consistently play."
Cosgray said the key for Elsbury's outing was getting ahead of hitters, and then attacking the zone.
He threw first-pitch strikes to 16 of the 23 batters he faced.
He allowed a second-inning single to Cole Wiley, but Wiley was thrown out trying to advance to second. The other two hits came from Luke Jackson, who hit a lead-off single in the fifth and a 2-out single in the seventh, but couldn't score.
"You have to tip your hat to him, but our guys aren't doing enough at the plate," Western Boone head coach Michael Nance said. "We don't have the will to hit right now, and that's frustrating."
Lebanon jumped out in front in the top of the first inning, when Brayton Bowen hit a 2-out home run to put the Tigers up 1-0.
After playing from behind from most of the last three games, Cosgray said it was good to get out in front.
"I think our confidence was shaken a little bit this weekend, even though we played some really quality opponents," Cosgray said. "Any time you can come out and get some runs early it's big. Brayton Bowen hit the solo home run, and I think it helped relax the team. We could then focus on the things that we need to do to be successful."
Lebanon took advantage of a couple of Stars' miscues in the third to pull away.
Joel Acton led off the inning reaching on an error, then scored on a single by Corbin Wells.
Another error and a walk loaded the bases, a sacrifice fly made it 3-0.
The Stars got another ground ball, but didn't get an out when the throw was late coming home. And after a wild pitch plated a run, Andrew Phelps made it 6-0 with an RBI-ground out.
"Unearned runs are going to kill you when you aren't scoring," Nance said. "We have to play defense better and have to do it for seven innings. We played good defense for six innings tonight, but it takes all seven."
Wells drove in a run with a single in the fourth to cap the scoring.
Wells was 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBIs on Tuesday. Acton and Bowen each scored twice.
The two teams are scheduled to meet again Wednesday at Memorial Park.
"We know what we have to do," Nance said. "We have to have a better approach at the plate, and hit pitches early in the count. Then defensively we have to play like we did for six innings tonight."
The Tigers were in a similar position last week, winning the first game against Frankfort, but dropped the second game.
Cosgray said the Tigers have to take advantage of the opportunity to finish off a conference sweep.
"Our goal this week was to go 2-0 in conference and we have an opportunity to do that," Cosgray said. "Tomorrow is a new game, and we have to come out, have another solid pitching performance and play the type of baseball we are capable of."