Keller spot starter throws two-hit gem to beat Southlake Carroll

Posted Tuesday, Mar. 25, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Last Wednesday, it was decided that Keller junior pitcher Lane Rice would make a spot start, his first start of the season, against District 4-5A leader and MaxPreps’ No. 4 team in the nation, Southlake Carroll.

Keller’s normal rotation needed a rest, Indians coach Rob Stramp said.

So why not throw out a spot starter in a game that annually has been a struggle to win for Keller?

The gamble paid off after Rice served up a two-hit night, leading Keller (14-7-1, 3-2 District 4-5A) to a 3-1 victory over Carroll on Tuesday.

Efficiency was the mark of Rice’s success. He threw 85 total pitches in the outing, 52 for strikes. Through five innings, Rice had thrown just over 50 pitches.

“I was just trying to keep it down low and get outs,” Rice said. “I wasn’t trying to strike them out, just having them hit the ball and my defense work behind me, and it worked out great.”

Rice (1-0) allowed a leadoff double to Carroll center fielder Eric Cole that resulted in an early run, but he followed that by retiring every Carroll batter in order until the bottom of the seventh. In all, Rice faced three more than the minimum in the game, striking out five without allowing an earned run.

On offense, sophomore third baseman Shea Langeliers carried the Indians, scoring a run of his own off two doubles in a 2-for-3 effort against Carroll (18-2, 4-1).

“In the fall, he was our best hitter, and in the beginning of the year he was squaring the ball up well,” Stramp said. “He hit a little slump early in district, and so the last two games he’s starting to get back to his old self. This is what he did a lot of in the fall, so it’s nice to see that bat come alive.”

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