July 4, 2013 | Vol. 117 -- No. 11

Medical Lake earns wild win to cap Legion baseball sweep

Get walk-off victory over N.W. Christian with suicide squeeze play in bottom of seventh

Medical Lake’s AA American Legion coach Kerry Kelly was concerned some rust might build up on his team after some time off.

His fears proved to be unfounded as ML scored a doubleheader sweep of Northwest Christian 15-1 and 8-7 last Friday in a pair of games played in Colbert where both games produced fast starts.

“You worry a little bit after having some time off if there’s going to be a little bit of rust on the frame,” Kelly said. “But they came out swinging.” Medical Lake won for the third straight time and improved to 9-5 in Federal League play.

Medical Lake, the visitors in the opening game, scored three times in their half of the first and four more in the second. If the quick start didn’t defuse any NWC comeback, an 8-run fifth certainly did.

Those big innings were keyed by Reardan’s Nathan Sorci and Cheney’s Joey Beamer. Sorci scored three runs in the opener. Beamer had three hits and five RBIs. “He’s just been solid, he’s been one of those players who’s just been consistent at the plate,” Kelly said. “Nothing fancy, no bombs over the fence, he’s just executing.”

Another Reardan import, Jack Walker, had three hits and two RBIs.

Northwest Christian’s record, 2-10 and losers of their last 10 games, does not indicate their strengths, Kelly said, “That’s a pretty good team, they hit the ball.” Like everyone else, NWC is just short on pitching, and that’s the difference, he said.

But NWC hung in there in the second game, scoring twice in the top of the first and later rallying from a 7-2 deficit to tie the game with a run in the top of the sixth.

Being the home team playing on the road – as is usually the case in one game of any American Legion doubleheader – Medical Lake not only scored a run in the bottom of the seventh to claim a walk-off victory in Colbert, but did it in a memorable manner.

“It was in typical fashion, we huddled, we put Joey Beamer in to pinch hit,” Kelly explained. “I told Joe he better get on; I didn’t specify, he told me he was going to get a hit, goes out and leads off with a double.”

Kelly then told Jordan Calero that his job was to advance Beamer with a bunt, and he wanted the sacrifice to be along third base, which he did.

“Then we successfully pulled off a suicide squeeze,” Kelly said with Sorci at bat. “It’s fun when we talk about what we want to do and it actually happens.”

Cory Wagner had three hits and scored three runs and an RBI in the second game. Calero had two hits, two RBIs. “He (also) pitched five strong innings and kept us in the game,” Kelly said.

“We did a good job of putting pressure on the defense, being aggressive at the plate with that sacrifice, with that squeeze situation,” Kelly said. “It was a day of good, productive at bats.”

Medical Lake played a postponed doubleheader with West Kootenay this past Wednesday at home. Earlier, Medical Lake earned a split with the Trail, British Columbia team – the Diamondback’s first league loss. “They’re coming down with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder so we better be ready,” Kelly said.

ML also hosts a pod in the Woodbat Classic featuring visitors from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Kitsap from the Puget Sound and the Warehouse, a local select team.

“It’s a nice novelty to hit with the wooden bat,” Kelly said. It helps neutralize some of the offense normally seen with the aluminum bats. “We’re back to a little more even playing field, it’s nice for the pitchers.”

“It’s the Fourth of July, it’s baseball and it’s one of the things we plan our Legion schedule around every summer,” Kelly said.

Paul Delaney can be reached at pdelaney@cheneyfreepress.com.

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