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Legion splits doubleheader at Chanute

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They say the early bird catches the worm, or in this case, an early start beats the thunderstorms, as the Paola American Legion Baseball team accomplished what every other Miami County Team could not on Tuesday, June 8, 2010 as they traveled to Chanute and got two games played, splitting a doubleheader when their counterparts from Louisburg and Osawatomie were forced to cancel their games early in the day due to overnight rains and a forecast which included a chance for heavy thunderstorms later in the day.

The thunderstorms materialized, and games scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m. would have been washed out before they started in this neck of the woods, but the Paola team traveled south to Chanute and started at 4:00 p.m. which gave the teams enough of a cushion to get two games played before the rains came.

WLH0055 “We weren’t ten miles north of Chanute when the skies opened up,” said Paola Head Coach Curtis Murdock. “Getting started early, and getting to play on a field turf infield helped us get the games played.”

Paola was able to gain a split in the games, winning the first by a 9-2 count, but dropping the second as Chanute scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a come from behind 7-6 victory.

The Legion jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first inning of game one, as Matt Dickey singled with one out and came around to score on a double to right by Seth Kern. Kern was stranded though as Conner Kresin and Austin Dent both grounded out to end the inning. Chanute came back to take the lead in the bottom half of the first, as they score two runs on three hits to make the score 2-1 after one inning of play.

From there, it was all Paola, as the Legion scored two runs in the second to take the lead for good, and then added three runs in the third and three more in the fifth to gain the 9-2 advantage.

In the second inning, Paola scored two runs after two were out, as James Young drew a two out walk, which was followed by a single off the bat of Tanner Staats and finally Matt Petelin reached safely on an error which allowd Young and Staats to score the tying and go ahead run. In the fourth inning, Seth Kern led off and walked, coming around to score on a pair of passed balls giving Paola a 4-2 lead. After Kresin grounded out, Austin Dent laced a double to right center and scored as Jack Pursley did the same. Pursley came around to score, after moving to third on a wild pitch, on a sacrifice bunt by Austin Ohlmeier. Young flew out to the second baseman to end the inning with Paola leading 6-2.

The final Paola runs in the contest came in the fifth inning, as Dent singled with one out, followed by a walk to Pursley and a single by Ohlmeier, all three runners scored in the inning making the final score 9-2 in favor of Paola.

Game two was a see-saw affair, as Paola took a 1-0 lead in the first as Petelin led off with a walk and came around to score on a series of Chanute miscues. Chanute tied the game with a run of their own in the bottom half of the first, but Paols came right back and re-gained the lead with two runs in the top of the second inning.

Kresin led off and reached safely on an error, but was thrown out trying to steal second for the first out of the inning. Pursley singled and stole second and third base before Daniels reached safely on an error by the short stop which allowed Pursley to score and give Paola a 2-1 lead. Daniels also scored in the inning putting Paola ahead 3-1.

Chanute again answered in the home half of the second, scoring three times to open a 4-3 lead after two, but Paola was able to answer in the top of the third, as Petelin singled and stole second and then came around to score on a two out double off the bat of Austin Dent, but he was left standing at second as Kresin grounded out to the short stop and after two and a half innings of play, the score was tied at 4-4.

Chanute did not score in the bottom of the third and neither team could mount any offense in the fourth, so the teams moved to the fifth with the score knotted at 4-4.

Paola broke the tie in the top of the foruth, as Petelin walked to open the inning, stole second base and then scored on a single off the bat of Dickey. Dickey also stole second and moved to third on a Seth Kern ground out to shortstop. Paola picked up what looked to be an insurance run on a squeeze bunt sacrifice by Dent which allowed Dickey to score and gave Paola a two run lead at 6-4 with a half an inning to play.

The Legion looked like they would get out of town before the rains and with a sweep of Chanute, even as Chanute got a runner on base with one out on an error by the third baseman. Two stolen bases and a strike out later, Paola stood just one out away from taking the game two victory, but they would never record that out.

They always say late inning walks are killers, and that statement turned out to be so true, as with two outs and a runner on third, Paola pitching issued a bases on balls, which was followed by a single which drove in one run and put the tying run in scoring position. From there another hit to the right field corner scored two runs and sent Paola packing with a 7-6 defeat.

Paola will return to action on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 as they take on the Osawatomie Raiders in a home doubleheader at Russell Field in Wallace Park in Paola. First pitch for the doubleheader is set for 6:00 p.m. with a second game to follow.

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