LANSING | When five of seven lead-off men get on base, it usually spells big trouble for the opposing team.
Illiana Christian's Lucas Miedema pitched a strong game but allowed the leadoff man to reach in five of seven innings on the way to a 4-1 loss to Riverside-Brookfield in Metro Suburban Conference play.
The Bulldogs used runs in the first and third and two more runs in the top of the seventh to get the win. Miedema pitched into the seventh inning, where he was pulled after the leadoff runner reached on an error.
"It was those leadoff runners and a couple of duck snorts that got out of the infield," Miedema said. "Just too many walks, that was definitely a part of it. It was rough."
Illiana Christian (3-6, 3-2) could not get the bats going against lefty Connor Berek, and the lone run for the Vikings was unearned when Caleb Jonkman came around to score in the fourth after a leadoff single.
With two out, Jonkman came around from second on a Brett Detmar grounder that was misplayed by the Riverside-Brookfield second baseman. Jonkman's run cut the Riverside-Brookfield lead to 2-1, but it would turn out to be the Vikings only run.
"We've only faced two lefties this year and we've struggled against them," Miedema said. "I don't know if it's because he's a lefty, or we're just thinking too much about it."
After the Vikings' run in the fourth, Miedema gave up a leadoff double in the fifth but was able to pitch out of the jam with no runs allowed. Riverside-Brookfield would again have the leadoff runner reach in the sixth and seventh. After Miedema was pulled in the seventh, Jack Hillegonds and Anthony Dykstra came on in relief.
"We didn't give him any run support," Viking coach Dan Gibson said. "We never could get the lead, and we spoiled some opportunities by not executing when we needed to and that cost us. Lucas pitched a good game."
Miedema fell to 1-2 on the season and despite the strong outing, was critical of himself.
"My arm felt great throughout the entire game," Miedema said. "I just need to make sure I hit my spots."