Paola takes third at Raiders tourney


A pair of bookend victories over Linn County pushed the Paola American Legion Baseball team to a third place finish in the Osawatomie Raiders Tournament on Saturday and Sunday, June 19 & 20, 2010 at the Karl E. Cole Sports Complex in Osawatomie.

Paola opened and closed the tournament with easy victories over the squad from Linn County, the second being a 12-1, four inning, run rule whitewashing of the squad from Linn County, as Paola took advantage of seeing Linn County play in three consecutive games in the Sunday afternoon heat and humidity to take third place in the Raiders tourney.

WLH0001 In between the two Linn County wins, Paola tasted defeat twice on Saturday, at the hands of the KC Blaze and the Osawatomie Raiders before taking a Sunday morning victory over the Lansing Cubs. Paola, along with Osawatomie and Linn County all tied in the round robin portion of the event with 2-2 records, Lansing went 0-4 to bow out of the event and the KC Blaze went 4-0 to advance to the championship game.

The Raiders advanced to the championship based on fewest runs allowed, leaving Paola and Linn County to duke it out for third place.

The third place game was no contest, as Paola jumped all over a depleted Linn County pitching staff to score nine runs in the first inning, and effectively end the contest right there. The first inning couldn’t have been better for Paola or worse for Linn County, as Paola retied Linn County in order in the top of the first then went to work in the home half of the inning, using an assortment of hits, walks, hit batters and errors to send 14 batters to the plate and score nine runs.

Tanner Staats led off the inning by being hit by a pitch and Matt Dickey followed with a single. Jack Pursley became the first out of the inning as he struck out before Seth Kern doubled, scoring Staats and Dickey. Austin Ohlmeier was hit by a pitch and Matt Haefele reached safely on an error before Sam Schneider also took one for the team forcing in a run to make the score 3-0. James Young grounded out to the pitcher before Taylor Harris was also hit by a pitch forcing in another run. Staats became the 10th batter to come to the plate and reached on an error making the score 4-0 before a single by Dickey and back to back doubles off the bats of Pursley and Kern cleared the bases and gave Paola a 9-0 lead.

Paola continued their scoring onslaught in the second, sending nine more batters to the plate, and scoring three more runs, all with two out to open a 12-0 lead. After Haefele and Schneider grounded out to start the inning, Young doubled, and Harris and Staats both walked loading the bases for Dickey who singled to left, driving in two runs. Pursley followed with a double to drive in the 12th run for Paola and Kern walked to load the bases before Ohlmeier struck out to end the inning.

Paola got a lead-off triple from Haefele in the third, but two ground outs and a fly ball out ended the inning for Paola. Linn County put a single run on the board in the top of the fourth and the game ended on the run rule with the final score standing at 12-1 in Paola’s favor.

The Legion team set up their advance to the third place game with an 11-1 victory over the Lansing Cubs in the second game of the day on Sunday. Again, this one was no contest, as the Cubs were no match for any of the teams in the tournament, going 0-4 in the round robin portion of the event.

Both teams were retired in order in the first, but from there, the Paola offense got cranking, giving Paola Head Coach Curtis Murdock an opportunity to give his entire team a chance to play.

In the second, after a Jeremiah Daniels strike out for the first out of the inning, Staats singled and later scored on a two out double by Young. Joe Pomatto followed with a walk and later scored on a single by Taylor Harris. Schneider was the second out of the inning, striking out before the Young and Harris singles. Harris came around to score on the Harris single and Harris scored on a single by Matt Petelin and following a Dickey fly ball out, Paola stood with a 4-0 lead.

Paola send nine batters to the plate in the second, scoring their four runs, and sent eight more to the plate in the third, this time picking up two runs as Pursley and Pomatto both singled and scored on a single off the bat of Young, making the score 6-0.

After Lansing put a single run on the board in the top of the fourth, the run totals continued to mount in the bottom of the inning for Paola, as the first five batters all reached base safely, and all came around to score. Dickey Walked to lead off the inning, Kern doubled, Daniels walked, Kresin walked and Pomatto walked. All five came in to score and the game ended on the run rule without a Paola batter making an out.

Saturday games see Paola go 1-2

Paola got an opportunity to play three out of the last four games of the Saturday session, and came away with a 1-2 record to show for their efforts, including a pair of back to back one run games that could have put Paola in the championship game if they had broken differently.

After opening the tournament in the noon game with an easy victory over Linn County, Paola, following a two hour break, came back to play the KC Blaze to a thrilling 11-10 loss, which saw the legion team grab an early lead, only to have the Blaze storm back to take an 11-5 lead going into the bottom of the fifth inning. Paola pushed across five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to pull to within one run, but could not keep the offense going and fell to the Blaze by the one run margin.

In the final game of the day, Paola played the eventual tournament champion Osawatomie Raiders to a 2-1 loss, seeing a 1-0 lead slip away as the Raiders scored a pair of runs in the third inning to take the victory.

Paola jumped on top in the contest with a run in the first on a walk to Petelin to lead off the inning. He later came in to score on a one out double off the bat of Kern, but that was all the offense Paola could muster, and when the Raiders put two runs on the board in the third, it was all the Raiders would need to hand Paola their second straight defeat.