Redbirds earn weekend conference split

By: 
Doreen Heintz
Sports Editor

The Lewistown American Legion baseball team made its first trip to Canada over the weekend, and came home with a split of four conference games against two of the Alberta Canada teams in the Northern District of Legion A baseball.
On Friday, the Redbirds split with the Medicine Hat Knights. Behind the pitching of Andrew Lalum, the Redbirds won the first contest, 11-2, and then dropped the nightcap, 4-9. On Saturday in Vauxhall, the Spurs defeated Lewistown, 14-4, in five innings in the first game, but the Redbirds came back to defeat the Spurs, 9-3, in the second. Tyler Lee picked up the win on the mound in the second contest.
“We played 26 innings of baseball and had three bad innings, which cost us two wins,” said Redbird Coach Scott Sparks. “It seemed like when it rained it poured, and we didn’t do very well in stopping the bleeding.
“Against Vauxhall we were cruising, and just like that they put a 12 spot (scored 12 runs in the fourth inning) on the board, and we were done,” added Sparks. “Medicine Hat did to us what they did at districts last year, when they had a six-run inning early, and it buried us.”
In the Redbirds’ win against Medicine Hat, Lewistown came out strong at the plate, scoring seven runs in the first three innings. Lalum held the Knights’ bats in check by allowing only three hits and two runs (only one run was earned) in his six and two-thirds innings of work. Ben Kolar came in to pitch for Lewistown in the bottom of the seventh inning to retire the last Knight batter.
The top three Redbirds in the batting order had three hits each in the win. Those Redbirds were Eric Knox, Lalum and Schell. One of Lalum’s hits was a double. Cleanup hitter Tyler Lee added two hits. Lalum, Schell and Lee each also walked once.
In the nightcap, the Redbirds scored two runs in the top of the first inning, but the Knights came back with six runs in the bottom of the second. Lewistown added single runs in the top of the fifth and sixth innings, but Medicine Hat plated three more runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the 9-4 win.
Against Vauxhall, Lewistown again scored two runs in the top of the first inning. Schell, on the mound for the Redbirds, held the Spurs scoreless in the first three innings, but in the bottom of the fourth, the Spurs scored 12 runs before Lewistown was able to get a third out against the squad. Both teams added two more runs each in the fifth inning. The game ended when Vauxhall scored its two runs in the bottom of the fifth due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Lewistown bounced back after the opener and scored a 9-3 win over Vauxhall in the second contest. Tyler Lee had three hits in five plate appearances in the second game. One of Lee’s hits was a double.
“A lot of it is mental, and if you look at our struggles all year, you can tie into our lack of mental toughness at times,” said Coach Sparks. “We need 15 guys mentally strong. We struggle from time to time to accomplish that.
“In our two wins, our top two arms did what they needed to do and pitched outstanding games for us, keeping them off balance and never letting things spill over. Tyler and Andrew were both   on top of their games, both on the mound and at the plate. You saw our two most experienced guys lead us to wins.
“Not what we had hoped for, but getting two road wins against two very good teams is better than nothing at all,” concluded Sparks.

Redbirds continue in conference play
Lewistown hopes to improve its 5-3 conference mark this week when they play six conference games. On Tuesday, the Redbirds were scheduled to play the Tri-County Cardinals in Conrad. On Wednesday, Lewistown returns to Ryan Sparks Field to take on the Fort MacLeod Royals. Game times are 5 and 7:30 p.m. Friday Lewistown hosts the Lethbridge Miners at 6 and 8:30 p.m.

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