Despite virtually an entire new look on paper, Medical Lake’s AA American Legion baseball team looks much the same on the field so far.
The team that made it to the quarterfinals of the state 1A playoffs, eliminated by Cascade of Leavenworth in a bid to reach the final four, and finishing 20-4 overall, is off to a 5-0 start overall and 4-0 in Federal League standings.
The mix and match Cardinals come off a Monday doubleheader sweep of Rogers with wins of 6-3 and 14-4 at Holliday Field. Last Thursday Medical Lake took a pair of contests 10-2 and 11-10 at home versus Northwest Christian, both league contests.
“It’s an amazing start,” head coach Kerry Kelly said. “The new kids fit right in.”
That was very evident in the Rogers sweep where Jack Walker, a freshman from Reardan, had three hits in the nightcap, including an inside-the-park home run, plus the pitching victory in the opener.
“The chemistry with these guys is just amazing,” Kelly said. “They have hit the ground running.”
After getting a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings of the opener to secure the win, the Cardinals kept the bats alive in the second game, leading 12-2 after three innings.
Nathan Sorci had a pair of hits, including a home run and a triple, plus earning the pitching victory. Cory Wagner also stroked a pair of singles.
Wagner pitched a complete game limiting NWC to just three hits last Thursday in Medical Lake’s 10-2 win. Wagner’s catcher, Hudson Petek, had three hits. Wagner and Joey Beamer each had a pair of hits with Wagner adding a double and Cade Weber a triple. Jacob Steinmetz and Brayden Hale each doubled for the Cardinals who broke open a close game scoring five runs in the bottom of the fifth.
In the second game against NWC Cade Weber had four hits, including a triple as Medical Lake scored four times in the top of the fifth to rally from a 10-7 deficit. Cole Soliday and Carson Weber each had a pair of hits.
Medical Lake is successful despite missing key elements of their state qualifying team. Adam Paulson, Kasey Kelly and Taylor Dormaier are all playing select baseball with the Spokane Crew.
Medical Lake features eight members off its Northeast A League team, plus eight others from area schools.
High school holdovers consist of Jaylen Musser, Brayden Hale, Tyler Munden, Cory Wagner, Jordan Calero, Tristen Keith, Jacob Steinmetz and Hudson Petek, all either freshmen or sophomores. Players from outside schools include Devon Wesebaum Sorci and Walker, all from Reardan. Odessa has contributed Cade and Carson Weber while Cole Soliday (Liberty), Brent Rosman (Wilbur) and Joey Beamer (Cheney) round out the squad.
Odessa teamed with Harrington and went 20-1, before losing a first-round state playoff 1B game to Colton.
“Here’s the deal, when people call and they don’t have a place to play, I always will,” Kelly said. “I’m taking in the kids that really want to play ball.”
Kerry Kelly, Rob Beamer and former Cardinal player Ryan Wagner are coaches.
“We certainly don’t take credit for any of their success but we feel that we help one another and bring something to the table that helps our program, helps our summer program and in return they have a good experience, hopefully,” Kelly said.
In true Kelly fashion – as a lover of the game – “It’s just great to see boys playing baseball and having a great time,” he said.
Kelly will have to craft time from his busy work and coaching schedule to find time to see his son, Kasey, play select. “This is the first time I haven’t coached Kasey,” he said. “That’s just weird.”
“We enjoyed the run, now it’s time to move on,” Kelly said.
Medical Lake hosts Pullman in a doubleheader tonight (June 13) beginning at 5 p.m., are at Rogers Saturday at 3 and Colville Monday for a pair starting at 3 p.m.
Paul Delaney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.