BURLINGTON - Mixed results were achieved by the Chanute Post 170 American Legion baseball team at a tournament in Burlington last weekend, as the squad went 2-2 at the event. Decisive victories were scored over both the Burlington Blast and Osawatomie, but Chanute fell to both Burlington and Iola.
The tournament started for the Post 170 squad with a Saturday morning match-up against the Burlington Blast, which Chanute won 6-2. With Trez Martinez starting on the mound for the local Legion team, Chanute fell behind early as the Blast took advantage of a first inning error to score. Chanute tied the game in the bottom of that inning, when Jordan Richards was brought home by a Tucker Johnston double.
The Blast added another run in the top of the second, on a single. However, Chanute again came back to tie the score in the third, when a single by Richards allowed Christian Wiltse to cross the plate. In the next inning, Chanute seized control of the game, scoring three runs. Singles by Kyler Manbeck, Martinez and Wiltse all led to Chanute runs in this span.
Another run crossed the plate in the fifth, when Johnston ran home on a double by Haviland.
Martinez closed out the game, for seven innings of work on the mound. He only allowed four hits and two runs in this first contest, only walking one while striking out 10.
To Coach Ryan Ortiz, the emergence of young pitchers like Martinez represent the prospect of settling into a very good rotation for this team.
“We know what Garret Bailey, and Jordan, and Alex [Son], once he starts gets back and finds his groove, we know we have four or five guys that can start,” Ortiz said. “We’d feel really confident coming out there and win a ballgame.”
He also praised the strength and depth of the Chanute bullpen, a factor that increases his confidence in big games.
Johnston, Richards, and Whitcomb all had two hits in the victory, with Johnston and Richards ending up with RBIs.
Chanute fell behind early in its next game against Burlington’s Legion team, and eventually lost 7-2.
Alex Son started off pitching in the game, eventually racking up five earned runs in just over an inning’s work.
“It started badly,” Ortiz said.
A total of 10 Burlington runners were walked in this contest, and Ortiz feels that any team that gets that many free bases is likely going to win any evenly-matched ballgame.
“Hopefully, we learn from that, and our pitching works ahead,” Ortiz said. “Walks will kill you every time, so we’ve got to limit them.”
Burlington’s first run came in the first inning, on a single to right field. Then, four more Burlington runs would come in the second, on two walks, a hit batsman and a single, all with the bases loaded. Son was replaced on the mound by Haviland halfway through this deluge, that left Post 170 trailing by five.
Haviland ended up only giving up two earned runs through five innings, while striking out six.
Eventually, Chanute did get on the scoreboard, when a sacrifice fly by Rhett Smith brought Richards home in the top of the fourth inning and a double by Kenton Richards scored Tyler Korte in the fifth.
Still, Chanute fell by five runs, ending the first day of the tournament with a split.
Chanute dominated the next day’s first game, beating Osawatomie 11-0. Jordan Richards pitched this game, and kept Osawatomie off the scoreboard for all four of its inning, allowing only three hits while striking out one.
Four runs were scored by Post 170 in the first inning. Kenton Richards came home on a sacrifice fly by Smith, Jordan Richards and Johnston both ran in on a single by Cory Whitcomb, and Vanatta was walked with the bases loaded to score Aaron Haviland.
Seven more runs came in during the second, as Chanute took advantage of timely hits and defensive miscues by Osawatomie to expand its lead. This offensive burst allowed Chanute to trigger the mercy run rule after the top of the fourth inning and win this game by 11 runs.
Kenton Richards went two for three in the game, driving in one and scoring two runs.
Post 170 followed this victory with a tense and closely-knit match-up with Iola. Chanute ended up falling 3-2 in the game, as batters struggled against Iola pitcher Grayson Pearish.
“If we had any downfall in this game, it’s that we didn’t jump on a lot of fastballs,” Coach Ryan Ortiz said. “He threw a good game and mixed it up really well, but I kept stressing to our guys that they have to look for the fastballs. Good pitchers like him are going to mix it up, to keep us off balance, and that’s what he did.”
Garret Bailey got the start in the final game for the local Legion squad in this tourney, pitching six of its innings, both walking and striking out four and allowing three runs.
Iola jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first, as Humboldt’s Hunter Murrow reached on a fielder’s choice. Chanute quickly responded in the bottom of the first, as a double by Kenton Richards allowed Wiltse to cross the plate.
Iola, which took the tourney championship, took advantage of an error to retake the lead in the top of the second, and added a run on a Murrow double in the fourth for a 3-1 advantage. However, other runs were prevented by several big fielding plays from Chanute.
“Our defense, having those guys out there with Garret pitching, that’s having our best defense behind us,” Ortiz said. “We have to fill holes when Jordan’s pitching or Aaron or some other guys are pitching, and that makes a game a little bit different.”
Ortiz said he had confidence in everyone that played defense so well in this game, and that players got their gloves on any hit ball that they could.
Offensively, a bad throw on a single by Johnston allowed Jordan Richards to score in the top of the sixth, to put Chanute within one. Kenton Richards came in to pitch the last inning for Chanute, and earned two strikeouts. However, Post 170 couldn’t quite bridge the gap in their final at-bat and fell in the game by a run.
Wiltse and Kenton Richards both went two for three in this climactic game of the tournament.
Chanute is scheduled to take on Ottawa tonight at 6 p.m. at the stadium in Katy Park if weather cooperates.
Burlington Blast 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 2
Chanute Post 170 1 0 1 3 1 0 x - 6
Chanute 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 - 2
Burlington 1 4 0 0 0 2 x - 7
Osawatomie 0 0 0 0 - 0
Chanute 4 7 0 x - 11
Iola 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 - 3
Chanute 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 - 2
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