Redbirds sweep Medicine Hat Knights

Doreen Heintz
Sports Editor

Jace Davis pitches to a Medicine Hat batter in the first game against the Knights on Tuesday. Davis recorded a 5-1 win over the Knights.           

Photos by Doreen Heintz

The Lewistown Redbirds used strong pitching from Jace Davis and Andrew Lalum to sweep the Knights of Medicine Hat on Tuesday at Ryan Sparks Field. The sweep over the Knights gave the Lewistown American Legion team a measure of revenge over Medicine Hat, which swept the Birds in Canada in late June. The win, the Redbirds 10th in 12 games, upped the Birds conference mark to 18-6 with four conference games left.
In the first game against Medicine Hat, Davis scattered six hits over his six innings of work. He also allowed only one run. Davis gave way to teammate Ben Kolar in the top of the seventh inning. Kolar, who finished the game on the mound for Lewistown, did allow one run on one hit.

The Birds were only able to muster six hits of their own, but four Medicine Hat errors, combined with eight walks of Redbird batters, allowed the Birds to plate nine runs in six innings.
Leading 2-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, Lewistown base runners crossed home plate three times to take a 5-1 lead. Tanner Trafton got the bottom of the inning started with a single to center field. Eric Knox laid down a perfect bunt right inside the first-base line to move Trafton to second base. Cody Henderson followed with a walk on four straight pitches. Lee followed with a single to left field to load the bases. The Birds’ first run of the inning came when Davis walked. Knox scored on an error by the Medicine Hat shortstop with Hunter Schell at the plate. A walk to Lalum scored Henderson with the third run of the inning. The next two Birds flew out and struck out to end the inning.
When the leadoff hitter for the Knights had an infield single to start the top of the sixth inning, a Medicine Hat rally seemed eminent. But a fine catch of a hard liner by Trafton allowed Trafton to step on first base for the second out of the inning. After another Knights’ single, Davis enticed the next batter to hit a ground ball to Lalum at shortstop. Lalum shoveled the ball to second baseman Henderson, who stepped on second for the force out.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Redbirds used a walk to Knox and a HBP to Henderson to put runners on first and second with two outs. Davis’s single through the Knights’ third baseman’s glove allowed Knox to score. After Schell walked to load the bases, a Lalum fly ball was dropped by the Medicine Hat left fielder, plating Henderson and Davis. An error by the Medicine Hat third baseman put Thomas Ayers at first. A walk to Gallagher reloaded the bases, but Trafton flew out to the Knights’ shortstopfor the third out. The score now stood 9-1 in favor of the Redbirds.
The Knights did add a run in the top of the seventh, but Kolar ended the game with a strike out of a Medicine Hat batter.

Lalum two-hits Knights
Lalum seems to be healthy again as the Redbirds hit their stretch run into the American Legion Northern District Tournament. He showed little effects from his shoulder surgery that kept him away from pitching for almost a month. In a very solid six and two-thirds innings of work Tuesday night, Lalum allowed only two hits by Medicine Hat. The only run given up by Lalum came in the top of the seventh inning. After striking out the first Medicine Hat batter of inning, Lalum walked the next batter. After an error by Henderson at shortstop, the Knights had runners at first and second. A passed ball by Lee allowed the runners to move up a base. A ground out to Davis at first base got the second out of the inning but also allowed the Knights to score their first run of the game.

Kolar came into the game in relief of Lalum.  Kolar enticed the next batter to ground out to Davis to end the game.

Meanwhile, the Birds scored single runs in both the second and third innings, and then three more runs in the bottom of the fifth to take the 5-1 win. Almost single handily, Lalum scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the second. After singling up the middle, Lalum stole second and went on to third when the ball on a pick-off attempt ended up in centerfield. A single by Jake Clinton plated Lalum. The Redbirds could have blown the game wide open in the inning after they loaded the bases with no outs. Ayers flew out to right field, Knox struck out, and Henderson grounded out to end the inning with no runs crossing the plate.

In the bottom of the third inning, a line drive single by Lalum scored Lee from second base.

A Schell single in the bottom of the fifth inning got things rolling for the Birds. Clinton hit the ball to the shortstop, who stepped on second base for the first out, but his throw was high to first base. With the error, Clinton ended up on second.
With Gallagher at the plate, Clinton stole third. After Gallagher walked, Ayers laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to get Clinton home and Gallagher to second. A Knox single up the middle scored Gallagher from second. Knox went to second on the throw home. With Henderson at the plate, Knox went to third on a passed ball. A Henderson walk put runners on the corners. Lee’s single to left field scored Knox with the Birds’ third run of the inning and gave the Birds a 5-0 lead.

Medicine Hat did not score their one, and only, run until the top of the seventh inning. A walk and a fielding error by the Birds put Knight runners on first and second. The two runners advanced on a passed ball. A top fielding play by Davis at first base got the second out of the inning, but a Medicine Hat runner scored from third. Kolar replaced Lalum on the mound and enticed the next Medicine Hat runner to ground out to Davis at first base to end the game.

Redbirds drop two to Vauxhall
Wednesday night, the Lewistown Redbirds dropped two conference games to the Vauxhall Spurs, 9-4 and 14-4. The two losses dropped the Redbirds to third in the northern conference standings with an 18-8 mark. Vauxhall and the Lethbridge Miners were in a tie for first place with identical 17-7 marks after Thursday’s ball games.
The Redbirds have two conference games left to play, both against Havre at home on Sunday night, while Vauxhall and Lethbridge have four conference games each left to play.
The Wednesday games at Ryan Sparks Field did not start until after 7:30 p.m. due to a hard rain shower earlier in the day. The field crew worked extra hard to get the field playable. Wednesday’s second game did not finish until 12:15 a.m. on Thursday, so it was a long evening for the Redbirds and their fans.
In the first game, the Spurs jumped on Redbird starter Tyler Lee for one run in the first inning and three more in the fourth inning. In the top of the fourth, Noah Kirsch replaced Lee on the mound. A single run and a three-run homer in the four-run sixth inning upped the Vauxall lead to 9-4. Kirsch finished the game for Lewistown.
In the second game, Redbird Coach Scott Sparks started Hunter Schell as the pitcher. After Vauxhall scored four runs off Schell in the top of the first inning, Nate Kindzerski took over the mound duties. A 6-4-3 double play finally got the Redbirds out of the top of the first, but Vauxhall already had built a 5-0 lead.

Two good defensive plays in the top of the second inning kept the Spurs from adding to their lead. Jake Clinton knocked a hard hit down from his second base position and threw to first from the seat of his pants for the first out. Another double play by the Birds kept the Spurs from scoring in the top of the second.

Vauxhall added three more runs in the top of the third to give the Spurs an 8-0 lead. The Birds, first runs of the contest did not come until the bottom of the fifth inning when Davis hit a single up the middle to score Ayers and Henderson with the bases loaded.
The Spurs came back with six more runs in the top of the sixth inning to go up 14-2.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, singles by Schell and Clinton began a Redbird rally. The two runners went to second and third when the Spurs tried a pick-off attempt of Clinton at first base with Ayers at the plate. After Ayers flew out to the Spurs pitcher,  Trafton followed with a single to right field to score Schell. Knox hit a sharp ground ball to the Vauxhall third baseman to score Clinton. Henderson followed with a fielder’s choice to second base for the second Redbird out. The game ended, by the 10-run mercy rule, when Lee hit a deep fly ball to centerfield.

North A Legion Baseball

Team        Conf    Overall
Vauxhall    17-7         23-9
Lethbridge    17-7        23-14

Lewistown    18-8        40-27
Medicine Hat    12-12     20-15
Fort Macleod    10-14     17-18
Great Falls    9-15     21-28
Tri-County    9-17     15-22
Havre        6-18     14-28

July 12 - Game 1
Redbirds 9,
Medicine Hat Knights 2

                                      R  H  E
Knights       000  100 1-2  7  4
Redbirds    110  034 0-9  6  1

Batting                          ab    r   h  rbi
Eric Knox    2    2    1    0
Cody Henderson    2    2    0    0
Tyler Lee    4    1    1    0

Jace Davis    3    1    1    2

Hunter Schell    3    1    0    1

Andrew Lalum    2    1    1    1
Thomas Ayers    4    0    0    0
Cordell Gallagher    2    0    0    0
Tanner Trafton    4    1    2    1
Ben Kolar    0    0    0    0
Totals    26    9    6    5
2B: Davis; SB: Knox 2, Lalum; E: Lalum; HBP: Henderson; SH: Knox.

Pitching          IP    H   R   ER  BB  S
Davis            6.00    6    1     0     3    3
Kolar            1.00     1    1     1      0    1
W: Davis; HB: Davis.

Game 2
Redbirds 5,
Medicine Hat Knights 1

                                       R H  E
Knights       000  000 1-1  2  3
Redbirds    011  030  0-5 10 3

Batting                          ab    r   h  rbi
Eric Knox    3    1    2    1
Cody Henderson    2    0    0    0
Tyler Lee    4    1    2    1

Jace Davis    3    0    0    0

Andrew Lalum    4    1    3    1

Hunter Schell    3    0    2    0
Jake Clinton    3    1    1    1
Ben Kolar    0    0    0    0

Cordell Gallagher    1    1    0    0

Thomas Ayers    2    0    0    1
Totals    25    5    10    5
SB: Knox, Lalum; E: Henderson, Clinton, Ayers; HBP: Gallagher; SH: Henderson, Ayers.

Pitching          IP    H   R   ER  BB  S
Lalum           6.67    2    1     2     3    4
Kolar            0.33     0    0    0    0    0
W: Lalum; HB: Lalum.



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