Legion wins one in Iola
Iola Big innings by the opponents have hurt the Baldwin American Legion team this season.
This weekend in the Iola Tournament, the team gave up a 10-run inning in a 19-13 loss to Iola, a seven-run inning in a 13-10 win over Fredonia and a four-run inning in a 6-5 loss to Osawatomie.
"The big innings are killing us every game," said coach Chris Rose. "If we stop beating ourselves with errors and walks, we can beat anybody."
In the first game Saturday, Baldwin faced the host team Iola. The prior game against Iola this season was rained out, and the rain returned for the second game. Throughout the first four innings it drizzled, sprinkled, misted and poured. At one point in the game it was raining hard enough for the umpire to call the game, but immediately after he called the game the rain stopped.
Adam Guss started on the mound and pitched well the first inning striking, out two and leaving a zero on the scoreboard.
The offense gave Guss a 5-0 lead in the top of the first as both Jason Rose and Jared Rhoades batted in two runs, and Guss helped himself belting in a run with a ground rule double.
The second inning put Baldwin in a hole it could never recover from. Baldwin had nine errors, while giving up 10 runs in the inning.
Jason Rose brought the team within two runs in the third inning with a three run home run. The bases were loaded after Rose's home run, but those three runners were stranded after two strike-outs ended the inning.
Baldwin tied the game at 11-11 with three runs in the bottom of the third inning. Guss and Dustin Nolke both had RBIs and Guss also scored on a passed ball.
Lance Moyer held Iola scoreless in the fourth, but in the fifth Iola regained the lead with three runs.
In the bottom of the fifth Baldwin came within one by scoring two runs with Rose scoring on a passed ball, and Matt Woods scoring on a sacrifice fly by Moyer.
Iola sealed a victory by scoring five runs in the top of the sixth. The big inning was fueled by a two-run homer and two ground-rule doubles.
In the bottom of the sixth Baldwin was held scoreless and Iola picked up the win 19-13.
"The story of our season has been big innings," said coach Rose. "Once again we were killed by the big innings; we should have never lost to Iola. When you put up 13 runs you should never lose, but 15 errors in a game is tough to overcome."
In game two Baldwin faced a winless Fredonia team. The top of the first inning Baldwin gave Fredonia hope for its first win of the game. Four errors and two passed balls by Guss fueled a seven-run inning, and once again Baldwin had to play comeback baseball.
After scoring two in the bottom of the first, Guss and Rose picked it up on the defensive end. Guss had two strike outs and Rose threw out his first of two base runners in the game.
With the score 8-3 in the bottom of the third, Baldwin scored five runs and tied the game. Big hits in the inning included Rose's fifth home run of the season, Moyer's first dinger and a RBI triple by Tyler Inzer.
Fredonia took the lead in the top of the fourth with three infield hits, two of which scored runs.
Guss then shut down Fredonia, allowing no runs in the last three innings.
Baldwin took the lead in the bottom of the sixth with four runs. All runs were scored on passed balls or throwing errors by Fredonia. The final score of Baldwin's second win of the season was 13-10.
"After the first inning I old Jason and Adam they had to step it up," said coach Rose. "Adam really pitched tough from then on, and Jason did it with his bat and he also threw out two runners."
The third game of the day was exciting for Rose.
"We actually played baseball against Osawatomie," he said. "We finally pitched, hit and played defense in one game. We just came up a little short."
Baldwin only had three errors in the game, but one of those errors, a pick-off throw to second base that sailed into center, allowed two runs in the game. Those two runs were the difference in the 6-5 loss.
"The Osawatomie team talked a lot of trash and it pumped the kids up," said Rose. "I couldn't figure out how to get the team fired up. I guess we just need to play some dirty teams like Osawatomie more often."
According to Rose, Baldwin was unable to steal against Osawatomie, like they had in previous games.
"They took us out of our game by stopping our speed," he said. "We had to manufacture runs, and the team did really well with getting the bunts and sac flies when we needed them."
With the score tied in the fifth Osawatomie's Matthews scored the winning run on a wild pitch.
"I think we learned more from the loss to Osawatomie than either of our wins," said Rose. "They tried to neutralize Jason by hitting him with a pitch twice. The rest of the team hit well, and we finally played a good baseball game.
"The rematch this Thursday will be a good one," said Rose. "Osawatomie really fired us up, and we should beat them at home. They better make sure they don't throw at Jason again or there might be some trouble."
Baldwin played Louisburg on Tuesday but results were not available by press time.
The next game will be at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday at Baldwin against Osawatomie. There will also be a home double header on Sunday against Lansing starting at 2 p.m.