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Raiders take tournament championship

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Sometimes it’s not how many wins and losses you have, it’s the order you have the wins and losses. The Oswawomie Raiders were living proof of that old adage, as they went 2-2 in pool play, but were able to advance to the championship game of their own tournament, and then avenge one of those losses by defeating the KC Blaze 11-5 to take the championship of the Raiders American Legion Tournament in Osawatomie on Saturday and Sunday, June 19 & 20, 2010.

The Raiders didn’t fare well in their early morning games, opening with a surprising 6-2 loss to Linn County in the tournament’s first game on Saturday morning, and then falling to the KC Blaze 5-1 in the first game on Sunday morning. The Raiders followed up their opening game loss with an 8-4 defeat of the Lansing Cubs and then closed the first day’s action with a 2-1 victory over Paola.

WLH0203 The Raiders 2-2 round robin record was good enough to advance to the championship game on the strength of fewest runs allowed, sending Paola and Linn County to the third place game. All three teams were tied with identical 2-2 records, and none possessed a head to head advantage.

The Raiders got a chance to avenge their early Sunday morning loss at the hands of the KC Blaze in the championship game, the Blaze came into the the title tilt with a perfect 4-0 round robin record.

The Raiders left little to chance in the championship game, jumping to a quick 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, and although the Blaze was able to score four times in the top of the second to take a brief 4-3 lead, the Raiders came back with three runs in the bottom of the third inning and five more in the bottom of the fourth to break the game open and win the championship.

The Raiders had little trouble handling the Blaze pitchers, and pounded out seven hits, with the biggest being a lead off home run by Austin Porter in the third, which tied the game an ignited the three run Raider outburst that put them back in front for good. Porter rocked an 0-1 pitch over the center field wall just to the left of the scoreboard, knotting the game at 4-4. His Raider team mates did the rest, putting two more runs on the board in the inning which put the Raiders in the driver’s seat.

After retiring the Blaze in the first, the Raiders went right to work as Brant Johnson walked and moved to second on a passed ball, but was picked off of second base before Travis Marsh also worked the Blaze pitching for a walk. Daine Needham and Porter followed with singles before Seth Jones also walked. Marsh, Needham and Porter all came around to score in the inning giving the Raiders a 3-0 lead.

The Blaze showed the offensive muscle that got them to the the championship game without a defeat in the second inning, scoring four times to grab a 4-3 lead, but the Raiders would not be denied, as, after being held scoreless in the bottom of the second, they came right back to put three runs on the board in the bottom of the third.

After Porters blast cleared the center field wall, Jones hit a fly ball to left field for the first out of the inning. Riley Divine followed with a walk and Cody McNutt singled to left before Austin Chisam struck out for the second out of the inning. Both Divine and McNutt scored in the inning and with just six outs to go, the Raiders held a 6-4 lead.

The Blaze made things interesting, at least for a half of an inning, as they pushed a run across in the top of the fourth inning to cut the Raider lead to one at 6-5, but in the bottom of the inning, the Raiders struck for five runs to put the game away.

In the bottom of the fourth, Daine Needham led off with a fly ball out to center field, then Porter doubled and Jones and Divine drew walks to load the bases. McNutt singled to score a run and then Austin Chism followed with a error filled inside the park home run, clearing the bases and putting the game out of reach. A pair of Raider strike outs ended their inning, and when the Blaze went down in order in the top of the fifth, the Raiders had taken their tournament championship.

Raiders open with loss to Linn County

To say the tournament opened in a disappointing fashion would be an understatement for the Raiders, as they not only had to get out an play back to back games bright and early on Saturday morning, they opened with a surprising 6-2 loss to Linn County in the fist game of the day.

The Raiders managed just single runs in the the top of the first and the top of the fourth, getting just four hits and leaving six stranded in the loss. Travis Marsh got the Raiders on the board in the first inning, drawing a one out walk, stealing second and coming around to score on a two out single by Porter.

In the fifth, Divine reached on a two out error, stole second, went to third on an error and scored on a single by Drew Needham. That was the extent of the Raider offense in the game, as they saw Linn County tie the game in the first, sending seven to the plate and scoring one run to make the game a 1-1 affair. After the Raiders had taken the 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth, Linn County batted around, sending nine to the plate and scoring five times on just one hit and five Raider errors to take the opening game loss.

Lansing falls to Raiders 8-4 in second game

The Raidersdidn’t have any time to dwell on their failures in the first game, as they were scheduled to take on the Lansing Cubs in the second game of the day. Osawatomie responded by handing the Cubs what would be their first of four straight losses in the event, taking an 8-4 victory over the team from up north.

DSC0069 Osawatomie wasted little time in jumping on the Cubs scoring three runs in the first, and one in the second to pull out to a 4-0 lead before Lansing came back to tie the game at 4-4 with four runs in the bottom of the second inning. The Raiders went on to score two runs each in the third and fourth innings to take the 8-4 final.

The Raiders put three runs on the board in the first inning without a hit, as Marsh, Daine Needham and Porter all reached base safely on errors after one out in the inning. McNutt struck out for the second out of the inning before Divine also reached on an error. Marsh, Needham and Porter all crossed the plate in the three run first inning for the Raiders.

With one out in the second Cody Wiseman singled and stole second before coming around to score on a single by Johnson, giving the Raiders a 4-0 lead before the Cubs knotted the score with four runs of their own in the home half of the second. The Raiders used a lead off walk to McNutt, a double by Divine and back to back sacrifice bunts by Drew Needham and Mitch Talley to regain the lead with two runs in the third inning, leaving the score 6-4 after three innings of play.

In the fourth inning, Marsh opened the inning by being hit by a pitch, Daine Needham followed with a single and Porter walked to load the bases before McNutt hit a fly ball to center for the first out of the inning, scoring Marsh. Divine was hit by a pitch and Drew Needham laid down a sacrifice bunt, scoring Daine Needham with the eighth and final run of the contest.

Raiders close the day with 2-1 win over Paola.

The Raiders got most of the rest of the day off, before closing the first day’s action by taking on Paola in the last game of the day, and coming away with a close, 2-1 victory over the visitors from Paola.

WLH0035 Paola opened the game by taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning, and for much of the game it looked like they would make it hold up, before the Raiders struck for two runs in the top of the third inning to grab a 2-1 lead.

In the third, Johnson and Marsh got back to back, one out singles, moving to scoring position on a fly ball to left field by Daine Needham for the second out of the inning. Porter responded for the Raiders by lacing a two out double, scoring both Marsh and Needham for the tying and eventual game winning runs.

The Raiders had threatened in the first and second innings, stranding runners in each of the first two innings, but after their two run third, the Raiders were retired in order in the fourth and fifth innings.

Paola on the other hand stranded five, and had runners in every inning but the fourth. Paola mounted a two out rally in the bottom of the fifth inning but the rally died on a two out grounder to second with the tying run at second and the potential winning run at first base.

Raiders open day two with loss to KC Blaze

After a promising start, the early morning hours of Sunday proved no kinder to the Raiders than the previous day, as they jumped to a 1-0 lead in their game against the KC Blaze, but then saw their bats go silent, and Blaze offense wake up in time to hand the Raiders a 5-1 loss and give them a 2-2 mark in the round robin portion of the tournament.

The game started with a Brant Johnson single to left, he moved to third base on an error and a wild pitch and scored on a Daine Needham grounder to third base for the second out of the inning. Porter hit an identical ground ball to end the inning, and the Raiders held a 1-0 lead after one inning of play.

The Raiders picked up two more hits and six more base runners in the rest of the game, but could not score any more runs in the contest. The Blaze, on the other hand floundered a bit early, but the caught their stride in the third inning, scoring three times on two hits and two Raider errors to grab a 3-1 lead. The Blaze tacked on two more insurance runs in the fifth, scoring twice without hitting the ball out of the infield, to take the 5-1 victory and advance to the championship game.

The Raiders, on the other hand, had to wait for the rest of the Sunday games to play out before they would find out whether or not they would be playing for first, or third place in the tournament.

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