Posted: 11:56 pm Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012
By Matt Porter
Baseball in the spring is all about fresh starts. It’s a new year. Every team has a new group ready to win. Palm Beach Lakes feels those sentiments more than ever.
The Rams won their first game in 70 tries on Tuesday with a 13-8 win over Glades Central. They earned a 1-and-something record for the first time since the 2009 season.
The last team Lakes beat was Glades Central. That game was on March 18, 2009.
“It’s been a long time,” Palm Beach Lakes coach Dorwin Lynch said.
The Rams (1-0) are ready for the next one.
On Tuesday, they battled back from a 3-0 deficit to go ahead 5-3 in the third inning. Glades Central (0-2) tied it twice more before Lakes knotted the game at 8.
With junior Mike Ellis on the mound in the late innings, the Rams settled down, tacked on five runs and sealed their first win of a brand-new season.
Junior catcher Ronald Wilson and junior shortstop Dominique Hale (both 3-for-5) contributed half of Lakes’ 12 hits. Junior starter Greg Hester got the win. Ellis earned the save.
Lynch, who took over Lakes in 2009 after several years as an assistant, has wrestled with a lack of size and talent. He said he challenged this group of players to be the ones to turn Lakes’ struggles around. He reminded them of that in the offseason and in key moments on Tuesday.
“We told them, ‘You’ve paid your dues,'” Lynch said. “‘This is your time to compete.'”
Lakes doesn’t have the talent and size of many of the area’s powerful programs. Hester, the Rams’ No. 1 starter, throws around 80 miles per hour with a strong curveball. He stands 6-feet. “For us, he’s a big guy,” Lynch said. “We nicknamed him ‘Big Cat.'”
Neither Hester nor any of his teammates had felt the feeling of winning a varsity baseball game. They stood tall for each other Tuesday night.
“We never knew how to close it,” Lynch said. “That was what bothered me last night. We pulled away … we would make an error [and] Glades would score. But we talked about being mentally tough, and their whole disposition changed. That’s going to take us a long way. They understand what it takes to compete.”