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WELDON SPRING • Zach Bryce was determined not to squander another chance - if he got one.

Given a reprieve, the Lafayette High second baseman made the most of it.

"I made sure to square that one up," Bryce said.

Bryce's two-run single in the third inning broke open a close game as the Lancers knocked off Francis Howell 5-1 in pool play from Midwest Classic at Francis Howell High on Tuesday.

"It was a nice team win for our kids," Lafayette coach Boyd Manne said. "Our pitchers did a nice job and we played good defense. Our kids are very excited to start the year."

Lafayette (1-0), the No. 3 large school in the rankings, will play Fort Zumwalt South (1-0) in the week-long Midwest Classic on Wednesday.

Bryce came to the plate in the bottom of the second with the bases loaded and promptly popped up on a pitch out of the strike zone.

"I just got under it," Bryce said.

In the third inning, Bryce, hitting out of the No. 9 spot in the order, came up in the exact same situation.

But this time he lined a pitch into the gap in left field to break a 1-1 tie. He followed that up with an RBI double in the fifth inning to finish the game 2-for-3 with three RBI.

"I was really excited for that one," Bryce said. "I was actually waiting for a curveball and he gave me one right there and I took it opposite field."

The Lancers banged out nine hits and coaxed seven walks from four Francis Howell (4-3) pitchers. 

"Our kids can swing the bats really well, but you never know coming out what's going to happen," Manne said. "Our kids have put in a lot of time and preparation and work at their craft."

The Vikings jumped in front 1-0 in the third when senior Dwayne Daggs stole home.

But Lafayette starter Jack Schmitt buckled down after giving up a run. He cruised through four innings, striking out five and allowing only one hit. John Kramer went the final three innings and did not allow a hit while striking out six.

"They were just better than us," Howell coach Tony Perkins said. "It was like it was a bunch of men against a bunch of boys."

Manne said the performance of his two hurlers played a key role in the victory.

"Schmitt did a great job of working ahead, so did John. It was just a great team effort," Manne said.

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