Legion season ends in Zone Tournament
OZAWKIE The Baldwin American Legion baseball team's season ended Friday just as it had started, with a loss to Ozawkie. The team finished the summer action with two losses in the Zone tournament, bringing their final record to 8-17-1.
"In Zone we finally played well defensively," said coach Chris Rose. "We struggled offensively and our lack of depth at the end of the season hurt our chances for a strong finish."
The team lost one of three pitchers and a strong bat prior to the season ending tournament when Wellsville's Matt Woods quit the team.
"I wasn't surprised by Matt's quitting," said Rose. "He wasn't happy with things and decided not to finish the season."
With the loss of Woods, Lance Moyer started game one of the tournament against Osage City.
Baldwin took the early 2-0 lead in the second inning when Jared Robertson scored Jason Rose with a single and Jared Rhodes followed up Robertson with a sacrifice fly to score Moyer. Rose hit his eighth home run of the season in the fourth inning to put Baldwin up 3-2.
In the fifth inning a close play at home turned out to be the turning point of the game for both teams.
The ball arrived in J. Rose's glove ahead of an Osage City runner and the runner attempted to avoid the tag by running around J. Rose.
According to coach Rose the play was an obvious out, but the umpire called it the other way.
"I went out there to argue the call and the umpire started to wipe off the plate so I couldn't show him that there wasn't a footprint," he said. "He knew he missed the call, and we were punished for it the rest of that inning."
The controversial run tied the game 3-3 and the next batter crushed his second home run of the game to put his team up 5-3.
After the fifth inning the Baldwin offense shut down and Osage City began to wear down Moyer and the game ended with a 10-3 Osage City victory.
In the second game of the double-elimination tournament, Baldwin faced home town favorite Ozawkie.
"We were doing everything right through the fifth inning of the Ozawkie game," said coach Rose. "Seth pitched strong through those innings and the defense was backing him up well. It just all came apart in the sixth."
Seth Johnson struck out six and, with solid defensive support, was able to pitch his way around leadoff singles in the first three innings. He also helped on the offensive side with two runs scored and a RBI.
Through five innings Baldwin led 3-1, but in the top of he sixth the lead quickly dissolved. The first batter in the inning hit a ground ball between third and second which traveled through both third baseman Lance Moyer and shortstop Tyler Trowbridge's legs.
The hit was the beginning of the end for the Baldwin Legion season. Ozawkie sent 13 batters to the plate, and nearly every hit found a gap to land in. After tying the score 3-3, Ozawkie opened the game up with a three-run home run, and when Baldwin got the final out of the inning the scoreboard read 12-3, and the hopes of a win in the Zone tournament were nearly diminished.
"As a 15-year-old throwing against 18-year-olds, Johnson pitched great," said Rose. "He just wasn't used to throwing so many pitches and they started hitting him pretty hard."
Baldwin went down in order in their half of the sixth, and were run ruled 12-3 in their final game of the summer.
"We were just a young inexperienced team," said coach Rose. "The kids played with a lot of heart. We had to shuffle the lineup with injuries, kids quitting and vacations, and the kids never were able to get used to each other. We didn't have a lot of talent, but by the end of the season we had the kids there that wanted to come out and play baseball and have fun, and I think that will be something to build on."