Legion fit to be tied at home
The Baldwin American Legion team won once in five games this past week. Yet, the 10-0 win against the Class 4A State Champions Wamego was not what coach Chris Rose was impressed with the most. It was a 7-7 tie against Ottawa on Thursday night that he felt was one of the highlights of the season thus far for the team.
The game against Ottawa was the first home game of the season and looked much like the same for Baldwin through the first four innings. The Ottawa pitcher struck out seven of the first 10 batters and the team was only able to muster two hits through the first three innings. Baldwin pitcher Lance Moyer was struggling to get his curveball across the plate and Ottawa scored in the first, second and fourth innings with a grand slam in the top of the fourth to go up 7-0.
After the top of the fourth Baldwin took over the game and played like coach Rose knew that they were capable of playing.
"After Lance settled down and we got into their bullpen, we played much better," said coach Rose. "That was probably the best game we've played all season."
In the bottom of the fourth, Jason Rose started things off with a one-out, ground-rule double. Matt Woods singled and put runners at the corners with one out. Moyer singled Rose in for Baldwin's first run of the game. During the next at bat, Woods was fooled by a pick off move at second and was forced into a run down. The Ottawa shortstop misjudged a throw during the run down and caught it in the face. Woods advanced to third and after a walk to Jared Rhodes, the bases were loaded with one out. Woods scored on a passed ball to make it 7-2. The Ottawa pitcher continued to struggle with control and walked Jared Robertson to load the bases and then forced in a run with a walk to Tyler Trowbridge. Tyler Inzer and Dustin Nolke both struck out to end the fourth inning rally with the score of 7-3.
After the fourth inning grand slam, Moyer gave up two hits through the next five innings. He struggled with his control, walking the bases loaded in the eighth inning but was able to escape the inning without giving up any runs.
In the sixth Baldwin chipped away at the lead with two runs. The number eight and nine batters, Robertson and Trowbridge, kept the inning going with one-out singles. Trowbridge's hit scored Moyer and Robertson later scored on Evan Durnal's single.
In the seventh inning with the score 7-5, the bottom half of the lineup came through again for Baldwin. Woods doubled to lead off the inning. Moyer singled to put runners on the corners. Rhodes scored Woods on a ground out. Robertson then scored Moyer with a ground out. The inning ended with a Trowbridge groundout, but the team had come back from a 7-0 deficit to tie it at sevens.
In the eighth inning, the top of the lineup failed to get any runs across. Going into the bottom of the ninth it was up to the bottom of the lineup to get things done for Baldwin. Rhodes had a one-out walk, but Robertson hit into a force out and Trowbridge flew out to end the inning.
After the ninth inning the sun went down and the game was called due to the fact that the field does not have lights. So the game ended with the score tied 7-7.
Rhodes, Robertson and Trowbridge the seven, eight and nine hitters for Baldwin either scored or batted in six of the team's seven runs. The top performance was from Robertson, who may have started a new tradition for himself after wearing his sister's pink/purple socks because he could not find his own uniform socks. Robertson had the team's first hit in the third, reached base every at bat, scored a run and had an RBI in his efforts at the plate.
"I told him it would be all right with me if he wore those socks the rest of the season," said coach Rose.
On Sunday, the team made up a rainout against Princeton, and lost both games by two runs, 8-6 and 10-8.
"I was hoping after the win on Monday, and the good game against Ottawa we would have some momentum against Princeton," said coach Rose. "We just didn't come to the game very focused and it cost us early."
In the first game Woods struggled at times to keep the ball down and the defense also struggled as Princeton jumped to an 8-1 lead in to the final inning of the game. With three straight doubles, Baldwin started a rally in the bottom of the seventh. They were able to score five runs, but the rally was cut short after Princeton switched pitchers and the game ended 8-6.
With a three-run first and four-run second inning, Princeton forced Baldwin to play catch-up baseball once again in the second game. In the second inning Baldwin had an unlucky break as a ball hit to center took an unusual hop over Inzer's head and with the bases loaded all three runs scored.
Jason Rose broke the scoreless drought for Baldwin in the second with a solo home run into the Baker football field.
In the third, Rhodes led off with a double and scored on a single by Inzer. Woods sent Inzer home with a double and the inning ended on a fly out by Rose with the score 7-3.
Princeton added two in the fourth with a home run and some help. Following the home run, Moyer walked three batters, including one with the bases loaded, which put Princeton up 9-3.
"Lance threw the hardest that I've seen him throw in a couple of games," said coach Rose. "We just had a couple of unlucky breaks and errors on defense."
Baldwin failed to score in the bottom of the fourth and Princeton added one in the fifth to make the score 10-3, with one last at bat for Baldwin.
Once again Baldwin managed to rally in its last-at-bat. With two outs Inzer, Nolke and Woods had three straight singles. Woods' hit scored Inzer and the rally was officially underway. After Woods' at bat Princeton had three straight throwing errors to first base and Baldwin scored four runs with the help of the errors. Robertson, Thursday's hero, was unable to continue the rally and struck out to end the game with the score 10-8.
The team moved their overall record to 5-14-1. The team will host a tournament this weekend and their first game will be against Louisburg on Thursday night at 6.