Bombers take in wood bat experience

The Louisburg Bombers had two close games and two not so close games in the Pittsburg Post 64 Wood Bat Tournament at Jaycee Field In Pittsburg on June, 3, 5 & 6 2010. The Bombers found the going pretty tough in the opening games of the tournament, dropping an 11-1 contest to Neosho and following that up with an 8-0 shut-out loss to the host Pittsburg Post 64 team.

“We played a couple of solid American Legion ball clubs at the Wood Bat Tournament,” said Bombers head Coach Dan Henderson. “The Neosho, Missouri Nighthawks have an outstanding program year after year, and Pittsburg won the AAA Legion State Championship and were just one win away from earning a berth in the Legion World Series coming out of the Central Plains Regional tournament.”

adampitching The Bombers were never really in this game, as Neosho scored single runs in the first and third innings before adding three runs in the fourth and six in the sixth to take an 11-0 lead before the Bombers tallied a single run it the bottom of the sixth inning.

Louisburg managed just five hits, while drawing four walks and striking out nine times. Nick Chapman scored the only run for the Bombers and David Stuteville picked up the Bombers only RBI. Once again errors plagued the Bombers, as they were credited with seven miscues.

“In the first game, we got a strong start from Ryan Otto who kept us in the game through the first five innings,” Henderson said. “Ryan was charged with five runs, only one earned with four strike outs, three walks and four hits. But we committed way too many errors and a team like Neosho will make you pay, and they did scoring six runs in the sixth, off five hits and three errors.”

While the second game was not much better from a score standpoint, the Bombers were able to cut down on the miscues, tallying just two errors on in the contest. But the Bombers hitters were held in check, picking up just two hits and no runs on the night.

Pittsburg scored in every inning, plating two runs in the first and second, and single runs in the third and fourth before adding two runs in the fifth to take the 8-0 victory.

Adam Henderson started for the Bombers, but had to come out of the game after one inning due to sickness. Clark Gregory completed the game and took the loss for the Bombers.

“Clark Gregory came on in relief of Adam and did a fine job for us. I think we committed only two errors in the nightcap which was much more tolerable.” Henderson said. “Pittsburg came away with ten hits to our two which spelled the difference. Many of our players were getting their first taste of wood bat baseball, it’s much different from the lighter aluminum bats and it can confound your timing, especially against a good hitting pitching team like Pittsburg.”

The weekend didn’t get any easier for the Bombers, as they came back on Saturday to take on the Bishop Ward Junior Varsity team, and dropped a hard fought 6-2 game. The Ward varsity squad recently won the Kansas Class 4A State Championship.

Once again, in what has become a common theme in Bomber losses on the season, errors cost Louisburg, as errors accounted for four unearned runs in the 6-2 loss. After a couple of days rest, Adam Henderson was well enough to start and pitch five solid innings for the Bombers. Henderson gave five runs in the contest, only two of which were earned. Gregory came on in relief and gave up the final run of the day, an unearned run in the sixth inning.

The Bombers picked up hits from Taylor Caskey, Gregory, Ryan Otto and Cole Whittmeier. Ward issued five walks as Henderson, Jesse Morland, Otto, David Stuteville and Connor Waldron all picked up free passes.

“Everyone seemed to hit the ball well in this game,” Henderson said. “We just couldn’t find the gaps when we needed to and ended up stranding way too many base runners in the game.”

The Bombers came back on Sunday to finish the tournament with a hard fought 2-1 loss at the hands of Blue Valley West. Blue Valley picked up single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, and the Bombers cut the lead to one with a single tally in the sixth before falling by the final 2-1 margin.

In what developed as a pitching duel from the start, Ryan Otto got the start and threw four good innings, allowing just one earned run, Gregory again came on in relief for the Bombers and threw the final three innings giving up a single unearned run. The Bombers managed six hits on the day, with Chapman, Morland, Otto, and Christian Richards each picking up one hit and Whittmeier adding two hits on the day. The Bombers had one walk, struck out just three times and had only one error for the contest.

“This was probably the best defensive game we played over the weekend, we had just one error in the game and it had no bearing on the outcome,” Henderson said. “We had a couple of chances in the sixth and seventh inning to take the lead and win the game, but some good defense sealed it for Blue Valley.”

In the bottom of the seventh, with the Bombers trailing by a single run, Louisburg had the tying and winning run in scoring position with two outs. Adam Henderson connected with a shot that looked to be heading for the gap in right center, which if it would have found the gap would have scored two runs and give the Bombers a walk-off win. But, the West right fielder was playing closer to the gap and made a great catch to take the win away from the Bombers.

“This tournament gave our guys a chance to play against some of the best teams in our region,” Henderson said. “While we didn’t get the wins were were hoping for, the guys really enjoyed the wood bats and the outstanding facilities at Jaycee Field in Pittsburg. Coach Mike Watt of Post 64 and Pittsburg Colgan High School puts on a top quality tournament every year, and you have to bring your “A” game if you want to win in this event.”

The Bombers will return to the diamond on Tuesday, June 8, 2010 as the will play their home opener against the Garnett Legion at Lewis Young Park in Louisburg. The Bombers will be back in tournament action on Friday June 11, and Sunday June 13, 2010 as they play at Fort Scott Community College.