Wheels come off in Medical Lake's Woodbat pod
Dylan Vercoe (center) throws the ball to Dylan Rushfeldt (right) during a double play before Rogers' Quannah Ramos (left) reaches second base.
As far as Medical Lake head coach Kerry Kelly was concerned, his team accomplished at least part of their mission in last weekend's Spokane American Legion Woodbat Classic Tournament.
Despite a 1-4 finish on paper, Kelly said his team uncovered more potential on the roster. And that is the primary focus of summer baseball for Kelly.
Medical Lake opened AA pod play at Holliday Field with a 3-2 loss to Walla Walla and followed that with a 17-1 pummeling from Pendleton, Ore. last Thursday. That was followed by a 14-2 loss to Juanita Blue and a 4-3 loss to Gonzaga Prep No. 2. ML concluded the tournament with a consolation game and an 8-7 win over Spokane's Rogers.
"We played a pretty good Walla Walla team," Kelly said. "They made two amazing plays that probably saved them two or three runs." Davenport's Tommy Wilkie led ML with a three-hit game and Cory Wagner had a triple, four of their team's seven hits.
Walla Walla pushed across the winning run in the bottom of the seventh after Medical Lake tied it with a run in the top of the inning. Brayden Hale pitched a complete game, giving up just five hits.
"If they don't make those two plays we probably come out on top in that game," Kelly said.
Then the wheels kind of fell off, he said. No details were available on the Pendleton game other than Kelly said the Oregon team "ran away with it in the end." Juanita broke a 2-2 tie scoring 12 runs in the bottom of the sixth.
"We kind of ran out of pitching," Kelly said. Defense also hurt their effort as Medical Lake had five errors in both the Juanita and G-Prep contests.
In their final game, Medical Lake saw Prep score the eventual winning run in the top of the seventh inning. Jack Walker from Reardan had two of ML's seven hits, including a triple.
"We hung tight with G-Prep," Kelly said. "You know it was a really good ballgame."
Medical Lake capped the weekend Saturday with their win over Rogers, a team from the Spokane National League. Wilkie and Tristin Keith each had a pair of hits for ML.
"All in all we had fun," Kelly said. "Of course we'd like to win every single game," but the goal of summer baseball is specifically to get players more time on the field in order to develop their game.
That was also accomplished. "We were able to dive even deeper with our pitching staff and see some good things," Kelly said. "We found a few arms we can develop."
Now Medical Lake's attention turns to what will be a busy finish to the season.
Medical Lake hosted Freeman this past Tuesday, traveled to Trail, British Columbia, Wednesday and are home Friday, July 11 versus Lakeside at 6 p.m.
On Monday, July 14 they host Cheney followed by a makeup game at Freeman, July 15. A pair of non-league games against Prairie from Idaho followed by another meeting with Northwest Christian are in the works, both of those final dates and locations still to be determined Kelly indicated.
Medical Lake goes into this final 10-day stretch of the regular season in a tight race for one of the three playoff spots in the Federal League.
If it happens that Medical Lake makes the postseason, Kelly said that's great. "But we don't sit there and try to gauge, we need to win three more, we just go out there and try to win and give it our best."
Paul Delaney can be reached at email@example.com.