Pitching, bats lead Bombers to three wins
On the strength of solid pitching and red-hot bats that accounted for 38 hits and 45 runs, the Baldwin Bombers 13-14-year-old baseball team blasted through its Lawrence competition for three big wins last week and in the process improved its season record to 8-2.
The Bombers kicked off their week with a rematch with the Lawrence Mets, a club that Baldwin edged out by just a 7-3 count in an earlier tournament. The game had a similar feel to it initially as the Mets jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead after the top half of the first inning, scoring without the benefit of a hit. The Bombers quickly countered with four runs of their own in the bottom of the first, and eventually held a slim 7-3 lead through three. While both clubs traded two-run fourth innings, Baldwin finally put the game away with a five-run fifth inning as Cory Wright and Matt Bowlin both cracked two-run doubles and the Bombers finally prevailed 14-5.
Baldwin was led in hitting by Wright (four runs batted in), Alex Beecher and Will Sharp (three runs scored), who each had a single and a double, while Bowlin added three RBI with his double. The pitching load was spread evenly between Wright and Ben Knoll as each worked three innings. Wright gave up two hits and two earned runs while striking out four, while Knoll also gave up two hits and two earned runs and fanned six Mets batters.
The Bombers then ventured back to Lawrence Friday night for their first meeting with the Lawrence Cardinals. Despite jumping out to 6-1 lead after three and a half innings, the Bombers found themselves in a dogfight as the Cardinal starting pitcher quieted their bats for the next four innings. Meanwhile, the Lawrence club scored five runs themselves, including the tying run with two out in the bottom of the seventh, to send the game to extra innings with the score knotted at 6-6.
The key offensive blow came in Baldwin's at bat in the top of the eighth as Wright ripped a solo home run over the leftfield fence to put the Bombers back in front at 7-6. Dylan Hay then came on to pitch the eighth and struck out the first two Cardinal batters before allowing a single. On the next pitch the base-runner attempted to steal second but was cut down by catcher Bowlin's throw to shortstop Knoll and the Bombers escaped with the 7-6 victory.
Baldwin was again led by Wright in hitting with his single, double and home run, while extra base hits were had by Kyle Ruona (triple) and Knoll (double). On the pitching mound, Wright worked the first three innings, giving up one earned run with four strikeouts while Knoll worked the next four innings and gave up two earned runs while striking out nine. Hay gave up no runs in his one inning of pitching and took the win.
Baldwin's final game of the week was a Father's Day makeup game with the Lawrence White Sox. A bombardment of hits ended this one early as Baldwin posted an 11-run first inning and never looked back. The Bombers teed off on a pair of White Sox pitchers all night and eventually walked away with a 24-1 win after five innings by run-rule.
Long ball was the name of the game for Baldwin this night as outfielder Alex Johnson led the Bombers by smashing a solo home run in the third over the center field fence, then leaving the ballpark a second time with a two-run shot in the fifth. He also added a single and finished with three runs scored and three runs batted in. Others with big nights included Bowlin with two singles, a double and five RBI; Knoll with two singles and a double and four runs scored; Josh Rommelfanger with a pair of singles and three RBI; and Tanner Taul with a double and one run batted in.
Handling the pitching duties for the entire night was Hay who came within one out of a no-hitter before allowing a two-out bloop single in the fifth. The run that would eventually score was unearned, however, and Hay took the win and ended his night with five strikeouts and just the one hit.
Next action for the Bombers will be against the Lawrence Diamondbacks Friday at 6 p.m. in Baldwin.