Wild pitch gives Redbirds a wild win

Doreen Heintz
Sports Editor

Hunter Schell slides safely into third for a triple during the bottom of the fourth inning in the Redbirds’ come-from-behind win against Fort Macleod on Wednesday evening.                                 Photos by Doreen Heintz

Redbird starting pitcher Thomas Ayers throws a pitch to a Fort Macleod batter during Wednesday’s home contest.

In one of the most bizarre endings to a Redbirds game ever, the Lewistown American Legion team secured a hard-fought win over the Fort Macleod Royals, 8-7, Wednesday evening.
Heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Redbirds found themselves down by one run, 6-7, against the Royals. The first Redbird batter in the bottom of the inning, Jake Clinton, hustled to first base and was safe when the Royals’ third baseman mishandled the Clinton hit. With Eric Knox at the plate, Clinton went all the way to third base on a Royal’s wild pitch. Knox walked to put Redbird runners on the corners. After Knox stole second base, Cody Henderson flew out to left field. Although the ball was not hit deep enough to allow Clinton to tag and score from third, he was able to come home when the throw from left field was mishandled and rolled to the back stop. Clinton’s run tied the game, 7-7. Knox moved to third base on the same play and was now only 60 feet away from scoring the winning run with one out.
The Royals decided to intentionally walk Andrew Lalum, the next Redbird batter. Unfortunately, the third ball sailed over the Fort Macleod catcher’s outstretched hand and again rolled to the backstop. The game ended when Knox raced home with the winning run. The Redbirds swept the Royals, 9-5 and 8-7, in the conference doubleheader.
The two wins upped the Redbirds’ conference record to 16-6 and their over-all mark to 36-25 with eight conference games left to play.
The second game win over Fort Macleod was back-and-forth throughout the evening. The Royals led, 3-1, heading into the bottom of the third inning. Hitting first in the bottom of the third was Tyler Lee for the Birds. He stroked a double and then advanced to third on a single by Thomas Ayers. Cordell Gallagher followed with another single to score Lee and move Ayers to second base. With two outs, Clinton singled to load the bases. Knox’s single to right center field scored both Lee and Ayers to give the Birds a 4-3 lead.
The Royals responded back with two runs in the top of the fourth to retake the lead. In the bottom of the fourth, a triple into deep centerfield by Hunter Schell scored Lee to tie the score at 5-5.
Fort Macleod scored on a two-run homer in the top of the fifth inning to take a 7-5 lead. The Birds did not score in the bottom of the inning.
In the top of the sixth inning, Lalum took over on the mound for Ayers. After hitting the first batter he faced, Lalum struck out the next three Royals. The Redbird fans roared their approval as it was the first time Lalum had pitched in almost a month. It was good for the fans to see Lalum be able to return to the pitching rotation.
Again, the Birds went scoreless in the bottom of the sixth, although Lewistown had runners on second and third with two outs. Tanner Trafton flew out to the Fort Macleod pitcher to end the threat.
After Lalum put the Royals down in order in the top of the seventh inning, the Birds used Fort Macleod mistakes in the bottom of the seventh for the come-from-behind win.
Friday the Redbirds traveled to Havre to take on the North Stars in a conference doubleheader at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday Lewistown hosts Havre in a home doubleheader. Game times on Sunday are 5 and 7:30 p.m. at Ryan Sparks Field. Redbird fans will get their final opportunity to see the Birds in home action on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday Lewistown hosts Medicine Hat at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Vauxhall comes to town with games scheduled for 6 and 8:30 p.m. Those will be the final regular season games for the Redbirds A team. The Redbirds B team will be hosting a tournament next weekend. Look in Wednesday’s News-Argus to see game times and opponents for the B team during the tournament.



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