Medical Lake’s AA American Legion baseball team might be running on empty after playing 10 games in 11 days and their three straight losses might be proof.
So having the better part of this past week off from games, head coach Kerry Kelly is grateful for five days off.
Medical Lake was able to sneak in a Monday night doubleheader around scattered thundershowers that dodged Colville long enough for the home team to score a sweep with wins of 7-4 and 18-8. Those setbacks came on the heels of a Saturday split against Rogers where ML won the opener 6-5 before losing the nightcap 12-1.
“We’re at the point right now where we’re just thin on pitching,” Kelly said. Medical Lake had players who could not make the Colville road trip who were slotted to start both games. “We just ran out of arms; in baseball you kind of roll with that.”
That may not have been more evident than Monday where the teams were tied 2-2 until the bottom of the fifth when Colville scored five times to break the tie and get the edge they needed to survive.
The second game was not unlike the first other than the wheels came off when Colville rallied from an 8-5 deficit, scoring six runs in both the fourth and fifth.
Tristin Keith had three of Medical Lake’s five hits in the opener but the visitors were unable to fully capitalize on five Colville.
ML bats were pretty silent in the second game too as Jack Walker had two of the five hits in seeing their record fall to 6-4 after winning their first four games.
The wins and losses are not Kelly’s biggest concern. “My biggest focus on summer ball is that they get better and they get games and innings in,” he said.
Kelly and his team are certainly looking forward to a break in the schedule that sees them return to play Saturday when they host West Kootenay in a doubleheader that begins at 1 p.m. “That will give us a chance to charge the batteries up a little bit and get back on track,” Kelly said. The teams turn around and play two games Sunday in Trail, British Columbia, also starting at 1 p.m.
Saturday at Rogers, Medical Lake struggled through an afternoon where twice they left the bases loaded early but broke through with a four-run fifth to lead 4-1. Nathan Sorci’s triple was a key hit.
Rogers battled back to tie with three runs in their half of the fifth and the game was tied again when each team scored in the sixth. ML broke the tie on a run in the top of the seventh when Sorci scored and reliever Jordan Calero retired the side in the bottom of the inning.
“I think one thing this group has learned is they compete and stay in games,” Kelly said. “They have found ways to win games, they are just a group that keeps battling.”
Calero had three hits for Medical Lake while Sorci and Walker each had two. Walker added a double.
Rogers broke the second game open early, scoring six runs in the top of the first inning and were never challenged as Rogers pitching limited Medical Lake to just six scattered hits.
Paul Delaney can be reached at email@example.com.