Offense carries Legion to win
After their first three games, strengths and weaknesses of the Baldwin Legion team are clear. The offense prospered, producing 12 runs per game, while the defense struggled allowing 13 runs per game. The team finished the first week with a 1-2 record.
"We've got a lot of things to work on defensively," said coach Chris Rose. "This first week gives us something to build on."
After having two games rained out the previous week, Baldwin played its first complete game of the season on Wednesday at Ozawkie. Behind 2-0 in the second inning, Jason Rose jump-started the offense with a towering home run over Ozawkie's version of the Green Monster in left field.
Starting pitcher Matt Woods helped himself in the top of the third with a three-run double to tie the score at 4-4. That was the closest that the team would come to Ozawkie the rest of the night.
Baldwin struggled to obtain the third out each inning as Oz scored every at bat with two outs.
The game was ended in the seventh inning as Ozawkie eight-run ruled the Baldwin team 15-7.
The three 18 year olds carried the team on offense, knocking in all seven runs. Adam Guss went 2 for 3 with three RBIs, Rose 2 for 3 with one RBI, and Woods went 3 for 4 with a double and three RBIs.
"We knew they were a good team," said Rose. "They all played high school ball at Jeff West and had a lot more under their belts than us. We were a little uptight and rusty."
The defensive struggles continued in the first inning on Saturday at Garnett. Starting pitcher Adam Guss walked three and the defense committed three errors, allowing Garnett to score nine runs in the bottom of the first.
"After watching them (Garnett) take infield the boys thought we would win easily," said Rose. "We felt like we could play with anybody, and after the first inning we realized nothing would be easy."
Woods relieved Guss on the mound to close out the first and in the second pitched the first scoreless inning of the season for Baldwin.
"Matt came in and really concentrated on just throwing strikes," said Rose. "Behind by nine runs he was able to relax and let the defense do its job."
In the top of the third Rose started the inning with a solo shot to deep left field. Lance Moyer had a RBI single and Daniel Musgrave batted in two in the four-run third.
Garnett came back with two of its own in the bottom of the third, increasing the lead to 11-4.
In the fifth the fence clearing continued for Baldwin as Guss hit a two-run home run and the team scored six to bring themselves within one run.
Woods came through with clutch pitching in the bottom of the fifth, throwing a two out, bases loaded strike out to keep Baldwin within one.
The offense continued to produce in the top of the sixth, taking the lead and then adding on some insurance runs for Woods. Rose had a three-run double, and Tyler Inzer batted in three runs with two at bats as Baldwin took a 20-11 lead.
Woods held Garnett to two runs in the last two innings and earned the win as Baldwin won its first game of the season 20-13.
"I was pleased with the offense," said Rose. "We put it in play and made them try to beat us. Everybody had at least one hit in the game."
In the second game Baldwin took an early 3-0 lead in the first, including a two-run double by Woods.
Moyer struggled with his control in the first, loading up the bases with no outs. A walk and a sacrifice fly scored two runs, but Moyer settled down and struck out the next two batters to get out of the jam.
With the bases loaded in the top of the second, Jason Rose hit his third home run in as many games and put Baldwin up 7-2.
Garnett came back with six runs in the third to take the lead 8-7.
With the bases loaded, score tied, and one out in the fourth, both Tyler Trowbridge and Musgrave struck out to strand three runners.
Garnett added three runs in the bottom of the fifth as Moyer walked in another run with the bases loaded, and also surrendered two infield hits.
Baldwin scored one more in the bottom of the fifth, but was unable to comeback, losing the five inning second game 11-9.
"Lance threw a lot ground balls and fly balls," said Rose. "We just had too many innings where we had two or three outs that we didn't convert."
Baldwin's next games will be on Saturday at the Iola Tournament.
"The three games on Saturday will be a big challenge for us," said Rose. "We should have more depth, and we'll see what we are made of."