Baldwin Bombers continue to run with hot streak
The home-standing Lawrence Cubs' team and fans were in a festive mood, as evidenced by the many blue balloons and "Cubs" banner hung along the first base side of the Lawrence Houk-Ice league field in celebration of their league championship and last game of their season. With their pitching ace on the mound there was anticipation of a big win and revenge for their only loss of the regular season. That loss was administered by their current opponent, the Baldwin Bombers.
Unfortunately for the Lawrence club, the Bombers crashed the party and laid a 16-6 run-rule whipping on the home team to sweep the season series between the two squads. The victory was the eighth in a row for the red-hot Bombers and capped a four-win week that improved their season record to 16-4.
As has often been the case this year, the Bombers started the game slowly and managed only a Will Sharp double and one run through the first two innings to trail 2-1. Lawrence finally opened the door a bit with an error that, combined with run-scoring hits by Brad Wendt and Cory Wright, allowed Baldwin to take 4-3 lead after three innings.
The Bombers added a single run in the top of the fourth inning to up the lead to 5-3. A Cub three-run homer in the bottom half of the inning set off an extended celebration and put Lawrence in front by a 6-5 margin after four.
The celebration seemed to inspire the Baldwin visitors as they came out swinging in the fifth inning. Tanner Taul and Sharp each rapped singles to get the rally going. Ben Knoll and Wright followed with run-scoring singles and the Bombers retook the lead. Catcher Matt Bowlin then blasted a double into the left field corner to drive in another pair of runs and when the dust settled the Lawrence starting pitcher was knocked out of the game and Baldwin had scored six runs to lead 11-6.
The final damage came in the sixth as four walks and a Bowlin single brought two runs home. Kyle Ruona then rattled the right field fence with a towering double that drove the last three runs home to account for the 16-6 final score.
Baldwin was led in hitting by Bowlin's double and two singles and three runs batted in. Ruona added a single and a double and a game-high six RBI while Sharp and Wright chipped in with a pair of hits. Wright also took the win on the mound by scattering seven hits and fanning 10 Cubs. He pitched particularly effectively after giving up the homer in the fourth, shutting out the Cubs and allowing no hits the last two innings.
The Bombers actually began their week by entertaining the Lawrence Cardinals in a Monday night game in Baldwin. The Cards dropped an 8-7 extra-inning game to the Bombers in their last meeting in Lawrence.
The Lawrence club came out energized and jumped out to an early 5-2 lead after two and a half innings. A leadoff single by Sharp and run-scoring hits by Knoll and Wright led to four quick runs in the bottom of the third and the Bombers grabbed a lead they would not give up.
The fourth inning would prove decisive as Baldwin hammered the visitors for seven hits and eight runs to take a 14-5 lead. The teams traded five-run innings in the fifth for the final scoring and the Bombers walked away winners by a 19-10 count.
Wright and Knoll paced Baldwin's hitting attack by each collecting two singles and a triple, with seven and three runs batted in respectively. Sharp had three singles and three runs scored, while Matt Bowlin added a double and a single with three runs driven in.
Daniel Taylor took the win by working the first four and a third innings, striking out four and giving up four earned runs. Wright came in and struck out the last two batters to end the game.
The Bombers next faced the Lawrence White Sox in a Wednesday night match-up in Baldwin. Although the Sox grabbed a 2-0 lead after their first at-bat, the Bombers roared back with 12 straight runs over the next four innings and claimed an easy 14-4 win.
Baldwin's best round came in the first when the Bombers posted six runs. After leadoff hitter Wendt walked and Dylan Hay singled, Alex Johnson ripped a triple to drive them both home to tie the game. Knoll and Taylor later drove home two runs each and the Bombers cruised from there.
Baldwin was led in hitting by Knoll with a double, single, three runs scored and three RBI. Adding two singles each were Hay, Taylor and Taylor Ausherman. Hay also pitched a complete game, giving up just three hits and two earned runs to take the win.
The Bombers ventured the next night to Lawrence to play the Lawrence Tigers. Once again, Baldwin fell behind early as the Tigers plated three runs to lead after 3-0 after one inning. Singles by Ruona and Ausherman and a double by Johnson helped the Bombers score two runs in the second and the Tiger's lead was 4-2 after two.
Lawrence would eventually move out to a 6-3 lead after three innings before the Bombers would make their move. After Ruona led off the fourth with a single, Taylor and Wendt would each follow with run-scoring singles to cut the lead to one, and Baldwin finally tied the game in the fifth at 6-6.
After both teams went scoreless in the sixth, the Bombers offense finally got untracked as Wright collected a leadoff single and scored the go-ahead run on Knoll's single just over the Tiger shortstop's glove. Two more insurance runs were added off of hits by Ruona and Bowlin as Baldwin claimed the hard-fought victory by a 9-6 count.
Baldwin's 17-hit attack was led by Ruona's four-for-four night, which included a double and two runs scored. Knoll and Wright both added another three hits, with each driving in a run.
Pitching duties were handled by Taylor and Wright. Taylor worked the first two innings, giving up four runs on five hits and striking out one. Wright went the last five innings and took the win, allowing just one earned run on three hits while striking out nine.
Pending the possible rescheduling of an earlier rainout, the Bombers will conclude their successful season with a road contest with the Lawrence Athletics at 6 tonight in Lawrence.