Is there anybody hotter than Aaron Lano after the first three games of the season?
The Montesano outfielder had another multi-hit game, going 3-for-5 and driving in four runs to lead the Bulldogs to a 15-3 victory over the Aberdeen Bobcats on Thursday at Ken Waite Field in Aberdeen.
“Aaron Lano has been really good at the start of this year,” Montesano head coach Mike Osgood said. “He’s done really good things for us from the leadoff spot.”
To say Monte’s junior leadoff hitter has been fantastic in the Bulldogs’ three game so far this season would be an understatement. Lano is 8-for-13 (.615) with five runs scored, four doubles and eight RBI this season.
“He gets on base, knows the strike zone and is patient. He gets good pitches to hit and once he gets on base, he’s dangerous,” Osgood said on the keys to Lano’s hot start to the 2019 campaign. “He’s just having fun right now and just doing really well. … He’s accepted (the leadoff) spot and has been a really good teammate and player for us so far this season.”
Monte (3-0 overall) took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning off an Evan Bates single that scored Parker Plato, who reached earlier with a one-out double.
Aberdeen (0-2) looked to tie the game in the bottom half of the inning when Eli Brown led off with a double to right field. Brown later advanced to third on a wild pitch from Monte starter Cyrus Parsons, but was stranded there as Parsons pitched his way out of the jam by retiring the next three Bobcat batters.
That was as close as Aberdeen would get as the Bulldogs scored three in the second inning on an error and run-scoring singles from Lano, Parker Plato and Teegan Zillyett to take a 4-0 lead.
Lano and Plato were at it again in the third inning, with each driving in runs with singles in Monte’s four-run frame, extending the Bulldogs’ lead to 8-0 and essentially putting the game out of Aberdeen’s reach.
The Bobcats broke their goose egg when the Bulldogs’ defense played fast and loose with the baseball. Brown walked with one out and advanced to second when Bobcats senior Christian Fraley reached on an error. After Tye Williamson’s sacrifice bunt moved the Bobcat runners to second and third, Brown scored on Monte’s second error of the inning.
Aberdeen junior Anthony Alexander then singled to score Fraley and cut the deficit to 8-2.
But Monte’s offense never let off the gas pedal, scoring four more times in the fourth inning, highlighted by Lano’s line-drive double to left field.
Facing a mercy-rule defeat, Aberdeen battled back to scratch across a run from sophomore Dylan Cribbs to make it a 12-3 ballgame.
But Aberdeen’s reprieve was short-lived as Monte scored three more runs in the top of the fifth inning, capped by Jack Anderson’s RBI single that scored Braeden Dohrmann for Montesano’s 15th run of the game.
Anderson pitched a scoreless fifth in relief, striking out a pair of Bobcats while allowing just one hit to secure Monte’s victory.
Osgood stated that while his team’s defense needs to improve, he believes they are right where they need to be this early in the season.
“I think we’re kind of right where we thought we’d be,” Osgood said. “We pretty much know who we are. … We just kind of expect to be a scrappy team that puts the ball in play and puts pressure on teams.”
After coming off a gut-wrenching loss to rival Hoquiam the night before, Aberdeen head coach Shon Schreiber is working to keep his team focused through a stretch of four games in four days.
“I think if we get a run in the first to tie it up, it’s a clearly different ballgame. … I could see the kids have a letdown,” Schreiber said. “Sometimes, we lose focus. Like we always say, ‘It’s laser beams, not floodlights.’ Don’t worry about anything around you, just worry about ourselves. In this game today, we lost track of that.”