Legion finishes second
The Baldwin American Legion team played some of its best baseball of the summer to win two of three games in the Baldwin Invitational Tournament. Baldwin won its pool, and lost 7-3 in the championship to Garnett, the defending tourney champion. "The first two games we did almost everything right in order to win," said coach Chris Rose. "In the championship game, we just couldn't get it done offensively."
Against Garnett, Baldwin was the visiting team and jumped to an early lead in the top of the first when Dustin Nolke doubled to score Tyler Inzer to take a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the first, with runners on second and third and two outs, shortstop Evan Durnal bobbled and overthrew, what would have been the third out, and two runs scored. Another unearned run came in during the bottom half of the first and the inning ended 3-1 in favor of Garnett.
"The three unearned runs killed us," said coach Rose. "Garnett was a much improved team from when we first played them. They were hitting the ball and we just couldn't afford to make errors."
In the third inning Baldwin threatened with runners on first and second with one out, but a Durnal ground out and a Lance Moyer strike out ended the inning.
Baldwin stranded another runner in the fourth when Seth Johnson was on second with one out and Tyler Trowbridge and Inzer both grounded out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth Garnett doubled its lead with a two-run shot over the left field fence and an RBI double.
Trailing 6-1 in the fifth, Matt Woods had a one-out single and advanced to third on Jason Rose's bloop single. Rose then broke up a double play on a grounder by Durnal and Woods scored to make it 6-2.
Garnett threatened to break the game wide open in the fifth with three straight singles, which scored one run, and then a walk to load the bases with no outs. Johnson, who was on the mound, settled down and pitched three straight ground balls which got him out of the inning with the score 7-2.
In the sixth inning Woods came in to relieve Johnson, a move that several of the fans believed should have happened much earlier in the game.
"I pitched Seth because I felt he could go out and throw strikes," said coach Rose. "He got the job done, he only had four earned runs. You can't blame it on the pitcher when we only score three runs."
In their last-at-bat the Baldwin offense showed some signs of life. Woods hit his first home run of the season with one out, to bring score to 7-3. Durnal kept the inning alive with a two-out double and Moyer was then hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with two outs. Johnson grounded out to end the game, and the tournament.
In pool play, Baldwin first clobbered Louisburg 18-3, and then defeated Lansing for the first time in four games this season 7-2.
"We really knew we had to jump out early to beat both Louisburg and Lansing," said coach Rose. "We also did almost everything right on defense and we did what we needed to do to win."
In the first inning of the Louisburg game Baldwin sent 21 batters to the plate in a 42 minute inning and scored 15 runs. Each starter for Baldwin had at least one run batted in during the game. J. Rose led the way with five RBIs.
Against Lansing, Moyer pitched well, striking out seven and stopping Lansing rallies in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Baldwin scored three in the third with a two-run double by Woods and an RBI double by J. Rose. They put the game out of reach in the fifth, with two runs on an RBI single by Durnal and an RBI triple by Moyer. After the fifth the score was 6-0. Baldwin gave up two in the bottom of the sixth, but was able to hold off Lansing 7-2, to earn a spot in the championship game.
After this weekend's tournament Baldwin improved its record to 7-15-1. The team will try to improve on its record this week at the Zone Tournament in Ozawkie. Baldwin is the fifth seed and will face fourth seed Osage City in the first game at 6 p.m. on Thursday. Other teams in the tournament are Ottawa, Osawatomie and Ozawkie.
"We can compete against every one of these teams," said coach Rose. "It just depends on which team shows up."