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Miscues costly to Paola in Baldwin split

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The Paola American Legion Baseball team played a game of take-away and give-away against the Baldwin American Legion team on Thursday, June 10, 2010 at Russell Field in Wallace Park in Paola.

Paola split their double header with Baldwin, taking the first game by a 4-3 count by scoring a run in the bottom of the seventh on two throwing errors by Baldwin and then seeing a throwing error late in the second contest allow Baldwin to take the nightcap by an 8-4 count.

WLH0136 The Legion had to play catch up in both games, with nearly identical circumstances, as Baldwin picked up the first run of game one in the top of the second inning to grab a 1-0 lead.

Paola came back in the home half of the third to score a run and pull into a 1-1 tie, as Austin Ohlmeier opened the inning with a single to left field. With two outs, Matt Petelin walked and then Matt Dickey doubled to right field scoring Ohlmeier and moving Petelin to third base. The rally ended there as Seth Kern hit a fly ball to first base for the third out, leaving two runners stranded in scoring position.

Baldwin regained the lead in the top of the fifth inning as they turned a lead-off walk and three singles into two runs to take a 3-1 lead. But Paola wasted little time climbing right back into the game, as James Young led off the inning with a single up the middle and Tanner Staats followed by reaching safely on a error by the Baldwin short stop. Petelin put down a nice sacrifice bunt to move the runners up 90 feet and Dickey then singled past the short stop to drive in Young and Staats and tie the game at 3-3. Dickey moved to third on a passed ball, but was stranded there as Kern and Dent became the second and third outs of the inning.

Each team had base runners in the sixth, but neither team could plate a run, and the game moved to the seventh still tied at 3-3. Baldwin was retired in order in the top of the seventh, on a strike-out, a nice diving stop of a grounder by Dickey at second for the second out of the inning and a fly ball to center.

It was in the bottom of the seventh that Baldwin decided to become generous. Staats led off the inning by trying to bunt for a single, and when his attempt was fielded by the Baldwin catcher and then thrown past the first baseman, Staats was standing on second base, representing the winning run with no outs in the inning. Paola didn’t have to work too hard to complete the walk-off victory, as Petelin laid down another bunt in an attempt to move Staats to third base. The Baldwin pitcher fielded the bunt and instead of throwing to first to get the out there, he wheeled and threw to third to try and take out the lead runner who was moving on the play.

Looking back, that plan might have been a mistake, as the throw got past the Baldwin defender at third, and Staats raced down the line, scoring the winning run, as Paola put the run on the board never hitting the ball past the pitcher and not recording a hit, as both runners were safe on throwing errors. But, as in most cases, it’s not how you score, it how many you score, and in this case Paola scored one more than Baldwin and took home the 4-3 victory in game one.

Game two progressed much like game one, Baldwin opened the game by scoring a run in the top of the first inning, after a lead-off single, a strike out and a one out double plated a run for Baldwin, the inning ended on a line drive out to left field and the runner at second base being doubled up on the play.

Paola came right back in the bottom of the first to tie the score, as with one out Dickey singled past the short stop and scored on a double by Kern. Dent and Conner Kresin ended the inning with a fly ball and a strike out, but Paola had clawed back into the contest at 1-1.

After a scoreless second, Baldwin opened up a two run advantage, scoring twice in the top of the second on the strength of three straight two out hits to take a 3-1 lead. Baldwin held the lead until the bottom of the fourth inning, when Dent and Kresin reached base to open the inning on a double and a walk, and eventually came around to score to knot the score at 3-3.

Baldwin used an inning opening error to score a run in the top of the fifth to take a 4-3 lead, but gave it back in the bottom of the inning, as Paola turned an inning opening walk to Staats into the tying run and after five complete inning the game was tied at 4-4.

Walks killed Paola in the top of the sixth inning, as Baldwin got its first two runners on board via back to back free passes. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners up, and a third walk loaded the bases with one out. The Legion looked like they might get out of the inning with no damage, as the next batter hit a fly ball to second for the second out. It was then that Paola decided to re-pay the favor to Baldwin from the first game, as the next batter grounded to third, and with a play at any base, the throw was wild to first base allowing two runs to score, giving Baldwin a 6-4 lead. A double by the next batter scored two more runs and gave Baldwin an 8-4 lead with an inning and a half to play.

Paola got a pair of walks in the bottom half of the sixth, but could not score, and a scoreless bottom of the seventh ended the game with Baldwin on top by the final 8-4 count.

“We lost the second game 8-4 and had a couple of bad plays in the sixth to give the game away,” said Paola Head Coach Curtis Murdock. “Sam and Seth pitched pretty well in game two, but we had too many errors to win.”

Paola will play host to the Osawatomie Raiders on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 at Russell Field in Wallace Park, first pitch is set for 6:00 p.m. with the second game coming after the first is completed.

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