Paola takes third at wood bat event

After getting off to a disappointing 12-10 loss at the hands of Wellsville, the Paola American Legion Baseball team made a complete turn around, coming back to reel off four straight victories and bring home a third place trophy from the Jim Allen Wood Bat Tournament over the weekend of June 4-6, 2010 in Ottawa.

In an opening game loss that Head Coach Curtis Murdock termed “bad baseball”, Paola just couldn’t take advantage of the willingness of the Wellsville team to give that game to Paola, allowing them to come back from an 11-8 Paola lead to take the two run victory.

WLH0048 Wellsville jumped out to a 5-3 lead after two and a half innings, but Paola was able to comeback in the bottom of the third to tie the score at 5-5 with two runs on two hits and two Wellsville errors.

But Paola was not able to maintain the tie, as Wellsville used a lead off single and a one out double in the top of the fourth to take a 6-5 lead, but Wellsville was unable to score any more runs and the inning ended with Wellsville leading 6-5.

In the bottom of the fourth, Paola wasted a lead off walk, as the potential tying run was thrown out at the plate for the third out of the inning.

Paola used a three run bottom of the fifth inning to grab their only lead of the game, scoring three runs on only one hit in the frame. After retiring Wellsville in order in the top of the inning, Seth Kern returned to the plate, as he was batting in the bottom of the fourth when the last out was recorded at the plate, and hit a broken bat double to lead off the inning.

Jeremiah Daniels was the first out of the inning as he was caught looking on a called third strike, but then Conner Kresin walked and Joe Pomatto was hit by a pitch, loading the bases for Tanner Staats, who also drew a walk, scoring Kern to tie the game. Matt Haefele followed with a sacrifice but, scoring Kresin and finally Pomatto scored on a passed ball, and Paola held an 8-6 lead.

But Paola could not handle the lead, giving up five runs in the top of the sixth on three hits and two errors, and after five and a half innings of play, Paola once again trailed 11-8. In the bottom of the sixth, Paola pulled to within one run with a two run outburst, as Matt Petelin led off with a single to left and scored on a Jack Pursley triple to left center. Kern hit a sacrifice fly to score Pursley, but Daniels struck out swinging for the second out of the inning. Kresin walked but was stranded at first when Pomatto popped out to second.

Wellsville added an insurance run in the top of the seventh to make the score 12-10, and while Paola used three walks to load the bases in the bottom of the seventh, a strike out and a ground out ended the game with the score remaining 12-10.

We hung around, we had a chance, but we played bad baseball,” Murdock said. “We had to have five or six errors, we can’t beat anybody like that.”

With one bad game under their belts, the Paola squad had to take some time to gather themselves before playing the second game of the day against Rossville a couple of hours later on Friday evening.

“We decided to start over, be more confident and pick each other up,” Murdock said. “Things started to go better and it turned into a better weekend of baseball.”

Better might have been an understatement, but after the opening game debacle, things didn’t have many other directions to go but up. But up they went, and Paola turned things around, getting a shut-out pitching performance from Pursley, and an 11 run, nine hit offensive attack to turn the opening game disappointment into a second game 11-0 run-rule win.

Paola picked up all the runs they would need in the first inning, as they pounded Rossville pitching for four hits and six runs in the opening stanza. Staats led off the inning with a walk, and went to third on a stolen base and a passed ball. After a Dent strike out, Dickey hit a fly ball to right scoring Staats and giving Paola a 1-0 lead. But they weren’t finished, as Kern walked and scored on a two out double from Kresin. A single from the bat of Pursley scored Kresin and brought Austin Ohlmeier to the plate. Ohlmeier walked before Taylor Harris singled to score Pursley, making the score 4-0. Ohlmeier scored Paola’s fifth run on a passed ball, and Harris scored on a single by Petelin to give Paola a comfortable 6-0 lead.

Paola picked up three more runs in the second inning on two hits, two walks and a Rossville error. Staats, Dickey and Kern all crossed the plate for Paola in the inning. In the third inning, Paola used a lead off single from Harris to add another run to their total, claiming a 10-0 lead, and the final run of the contest was scored in the fourth inning as Kern led off with a single and came around to score off a one out double from Kresin.

Pursley and the Paola defense kept Rossville off the scoreboard, as he allowed no runs on just four hits and one Paola error. Rossville left five runners stranded on the base paths in the game.

A new day brought the same result in their third game of the tournament, as Paola bolted to a 9-3 lead, and then hung on, surviving a six run sixth inning to defeat Ozawkie on Saturday.

Paola scored one run in the second, three in the fourth, one in the fifth and four in the sixth to cruise to the 9-3 lead in the opening contest of the second day. In the second, Dent walked to lead off the inning, stole second and scored on a double off the bat of Kresin. After a one-two-three third, Paola picked up three runs in the fourth as Kern led off with a single and scored on a sacrifice fly from Kresin. Dent reached safely on an error and scored on a double by James Young. Young scored on a balk to make the score 4-2. A lead off double by Petelin in the fifth turned into another run as he scored on a fly ball to center off the bat of Kern. In the sixth, Paola sent eight batters to the plate, scoring four times to open the 9-3 lead. Thanks to an error, three walks and two hit batters, Paola scored its foru runs without a ball leaving the infield. Daniels, Young, Pomatto and Staats all scored after either walking or being hit by a pitch.

After Ozawkie scored six runs in the sixth inning to tie the game, Paola came back and put two more runs on the board in the seventh to take the 11-9 victory. Schneider started on the mound for Paola, with Haefele and Joe Zoucha pitching in relief.

Paola played their final game of pool play on Sunday afternoon, as they defeated the Ottawa “A” squad by an 8-1 score. Paola used a solid pitching performance from Seth Kern, who struck out 11 Ottawa batters on the way to a one-hit performance.

Paola jumped to an 8-1 lead after three innings, scroing three in the first, one in the second and four more in the third to seal the victory. Staats led off by reaching safely on an error and then scoring on a one out fly ball to center field by Kern. Dent and Kresin reached base on walks before Matt Dickey doubled to left to score them both to give Paola the 3-0 lead.

A one out walk by Staats turned into the fourth run of the game for Paola, as he scored two batters later on another centerfield fly ball off the bat of Kern. Paola plated four runs in the fourth as Dickey, Ohlmeier, Harris and Staats all crossed the plate in the inning.

Following a single Ottawa run in the fourth, Paola tacked on one more run in the sixth on a one out double by Kresin and a two out double by Ohlmeier to take the 9-1 victory.

In the third place game Paola rode a three hit shut-out performance on the hill by Pursley to take the 8-0 victory over Rock Creek. Paola scored twice in the first inning as Petelin reached on an error leading off the inning and scored on a one out single by Kern. Kern scored as Dent reached on an error, and Paola had a 2-0 lead. The wheels came off for Rock Creek in the third, as Paola sent twelve to the plate, scoring six runs on four hits to completely break the game open.

In the inning, Petelin, Dickey, Kern, Kresin, Pomatto and Young all scored runs for Paola.

Paola was scheduled to travel to Chanute on Tuesday, June 8, 2010 and will play their home opener on Thursday, June 10, 2010 against Baldwin.