Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

Medical Lake bats are working hard in early Legion play


While he won’t return a victory for a refund, Medical Lake’s AA American Legion baseball coach Kerry Kelly said the focus and real end result of summer baseball is simple — improvement.

Medical Lake has opened its season winning four of its first five games with each victory coming in games where they scored in double figures. They opened with a split in a pair of home non-league games against Gonzaga Prep No. 2, winning 11-1, losing 4-0 and since then have rolled off National League wins of 10-0 over Northwest Christian and 11-0 and 13-3 versus Whitman County.

“We’ve had some pretty good offensive days, (we’re) pretty consistent,” Kelly said.

Tommy Wilkie from Reardan had three hits, including a double, in Medical Lake’s 13-3 win over Whitman County last Saturday at Holliday Field. Brayden Hale, Kyle Thompson and Jack Walker shared time on the mound and scattered just four hits. Ninth-grader, Dylan Vercoe had Medical Lake’s other extra-base hit, a double.

While the bats have been evident in the team’s start, there’s been some great defense, too, especially against Whitman County where Medical Lake turned a triple play.

With runners on first and second in the fifth inning, shortstop Jack Walker from Reardan snagged a line drive, stepped on second and threw to first to Cole Soliday to complete the play. ML turned two triple plays two years ago, one against Whitman County.

No stats were available from Friday’s game in Pullman.

Tristen Keith went 3 for 3 and Hudson Petek 2 for 2 in the June 3 win against NWC as Medical Lake broke a scoreless tie with a four-run third and a six-run fourth. Phillip Murrey, Thompson and Black split the pitching duties, giving up just two hits. Medical Lake took advantage of five NWC errors in a mercy rule shortened contest.

Kelly’s been giving the young arms plenty of work during the summer season as he has a number of new pitchers, including Kyle Thompson and Murrey, whom he wants to get work. “It’s really nice to get some arms that are going to have to contribute some work (in 2015 spring ball),” Kelly said.

Murrey pitched at Pullman against Whitman County and had a no-hitter through the fourth inning before being pulled because Kelly saw him tiring.

“We’ve been playing good offensively and defensively,” Kelly said, committing just one error in the two games against G-Prep.

Cory Wagner opened the season with a one-hit effort against Prep. “He had a no-hitter going into the fifth inning, the first pitch of the inning he grooved one and it went over the centerfield fence; that’s the only mistake he made all day,” Kelly said.

Despite not having thrown in a couple of weeks, since the end of the Northeast A League season and playoffs, Kelly said Wagner “Looked great.” The junior-to-be also went 3 for 3 at the plate with Hale having a 2 for 2 day.

In the second Prep game Kelly said, “We didn’t hit, we didn’t do a lot.”

“As far as summer goes, everybody’s out there to get better,” Kelly said. “It’s really not always in my book to get wins or losses.”

It’s about playing, improving everyone’s game and getting better he said. “Winning’s important,” Kelly said. “Once you start winning, finding ways to win, it’s contagious.”

“We go out and play hard and try to win every game but we realize it’s not the end of the world (to lose),” Kelly said.

Next up for ML is a road trip to Colville this Friday, June 13 before facing East Valley Monday, June 16 at home at 6:30 p.m. before Colville pays a return engagement June 20, also at 6:30 p.m.

Paul Delaney can be reached at


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