Cheney Free Press -

By Lee Hughes
Staff Reporter 

Cannons limp back from Whitefish tourney


Last updated 7/18/2019 at 11:28am

Bill Peabody

Nick Swenson prepares to burn one into the plate during the Whitefish tournament last weekend.

The American Legion AAA Spokane Cannons Senior crew traveled east to Whitefish, Mont. for the Whitefish Tournament last weekend, where they took an 0-4, slide in non-league action, including a 21-0 loss to the AA Elks on Friday.

Cannons vs. Glacier Twins

Errors. It was their 10 errors that cost the Cannons in a 10-4 loss on Thursday, July 11, despite out-hitting the Twins 8-7. The Twins recorded no errors, going hitless until the fourth inning when they racked up seven runs, leaving the Spokane Seniors behind.

"We couldn't field the ball," head coach Austin Sharp said of the fourth inning defensive implosion.

Pitching for the Cannons, Declan Sklut absorbed the loss, allowing six hits and seven runs over three and two-thirds innings, striking out four and walking one. Robert Hatten pitched two innings, striking out two with two walks, allowing three runs.

"Declan didn't give up a hit in the first three innings," Sharp said. "We just couldn't make a play behind him,"

Keith led the Cannons with one run on two hits in two at-bats, one single and double each and an RBI.

"If we could have cleaned up our errors it would have been a different game," Sharp said.

Cannons vs. Elks AA

It was shock-and-awe time on Friday evening, with the Cannons' heads left spinning in a three inning, 21-0 rout at the hands of the AA Elks, a Canadian team out of Lethbridge, Alberta.

Like teams in Idaho and Montana, AA is a senior league, equivalent to AAA in Washington, Sharp said, noting the Elks have several players drafted into the major leagues.

"They rolled everybody in the tournament," Sharp said.

The Elks came out and began laying down hits and runs early and often, with five runs each in the first and second innings, then, rubbing salt on the Cannons wounds had 11 runs in the third inning in a short, decisive victory.

The Cannons struggled to find their offense with only three hits in 11 at-bats. The highlight for the team was a Sam Gollehon double, but second base was as far as any Cannon got around the diamond offensively.

Sharp blew through three pitchers in as many innings in an attempt to turn the tide to no avail, as the Elk batters hit at-will against Cannon pitching in a batting blow-out. Rory Schuller took the loss, allowing seven earned runs on four hits. In relief, Gollehon and Cottrell together allowed 13 more hits and 14 additional points. Of the Elks 21 runs, 20 were earned.

"Out guys played pretty clean defensively," Sharp said.

Cannons vs. Kalispell Lakers

It was an early lead and a lukewarm offense that saw the Cannons drop another tournament game in a 7-3 loss to the Kalispell Lakers.

It took five innings for the Cannons to get on the board, bringing in two runs in the top of the fifth and another in the sixth, but it was too little too late.

"We battled back in fifth," Sharp said. "We closed the gap, but we hit the two hour time limit."

Nick Swenson started on the hill and was credited with the loss, going four and a third innings, allowing all the Laker runs on six hits and four walks, despite four strikeouts.

Offensively, the Cannons went 6 for 24 at the plate. Jaden Stough lead the team with two hits on three at-bats, getting a single and a double and bringing in one run. Gollehon and Tyler Balkenbush had the Cannons only other runs.

"Our guys hit the ball hard and forced them into a couple of errors,." Sharp said of the game. "And we did a lot of good things defensively"

Cannons vs. Butte Miners

It was more of the same as the Cannon defense took two innings to warm up, giving the Butte Miners a chance to load the score up-front in a 6-5 Cannon loss on Saturday evening in Whitefish.

"They're a scrappy team," Sharp said.

The Miners brought in three runs by the top of the third inning. The Cannon offense warmed up by the top of the fourth, bringing in two for a one-run game, then three more in the fifth to take the lead.

The Miners answered back with one run in the bottom of the inning, then held the Cannons in the top of the sixth before gaining two more runs in the bottom of the inning for a 6-5 score. The Miners held the Cannons in the top of the seventh to close the game for another Cannon loss.

Still, Sharp was pleased with his offense.

"We hit the ball well that game," he said. "They played hard. They really wanted to win that game."

Julian Chabot lead the team, going 1 for 3 at the plate with a single and one run. Sklut, Mason Hammond, Gollehon and Stough each scored a run as well.

Jacob Lauber pitched a complete game, striking out eight but allowing the six runs on four hits and two walks.

It was tough against the Miners pitcher for the Cannon offense logging 11 strikeouts against the Cannons.

"We had a lot of base runners," Sharp said, noting that three of his players were hit by pitches.

At the plate, Chabot lead the team going 1 for 3 with a single and one run. Sklut, Mason Hammond, Gollehon and Stough each scored a run as well.

The Cannons are 3-7 for fifth place in league action and 9-22-2 in non-league play as they look ahead to the district playoffs Thursday, July 18, at Shadle Park versus the Bandits in loser-out play.

Lee Hughes can be reached at


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