PITTSBURG — Day two of the Fort Scott Community College Showcase at Jaycee Ballpark was a success for the Pittsburg Legion, winning both games of a doubleheader 4-2 against Inside Edge and 2-1 against Arkansas Express.
PITTSBURG TOPS EDGE
Pittsburg got off to a good start by defeating Inside Edge 4-2 in the first game of the day.
A pair of runs in the fourth inning gave the Legion a two-run lead, which the bullpen protected to earn the win.
“Even though Zach Hizey gave up a few walks here and there, he was able to pitch out of trouble,” Pittsburg head coach Chase Cleland said. “Then Parker Wydick did a good job of coming in and shutting the door. Matt Cashero also came in and didn’t give them an opportunity to score. We didn’t hit the ball as well as we wanted, but I think that’s just because it’s so early in the season. As soon as we start clicking, everything is going to start rolling.”
The Legion wasted no time in taking the lead, going up 1-0 in the opening frame.
Elijah Harris set the table with a leadoff single, before stealing second and third and coming in to score on a productive groundout.
Inside Edge tied the game at 1-all in the third frame, but the Legion answered with two runs in the fourth to take a 3-1 advantage.
Harris led off the inning with a single through the right side and quickly advanced to second with a stolen base.
Harris then moved up to third on a groundout to the right side and came in to score his second run of the day on the strength of an RBI single up the middle by Noah Vaughn.
Vaughn later came in to score on a defensive miscue.
The Legion tact on one more run in the fifth inning thanks to Tyler Brynds, who hit a leadoff single to left field and came crossed the plate after three defensive errors.
Inside Edge scratched across one run in the seventh inning, but the Legion got out of the inning with the lead in tact to earn the win.
Hizey earned the win on the mound, allowing one run on five hits with two strikeouts through five innings of work.
Vaughn was the offensive catalyst, driving in two runs with one hit and a run scored.
Harris was also seeing the ball well, going 2-for-2 with two runs scored.
PITTSBURG DEFEATS EXPRESS
Pittsburg followed up the win in game one with a 2-1 victory over Arkansas on the strength of a great effort on the mound by the starter Ryan Long, who allowed one hit with five strikeouts in his complete-game shutout.
“I thought Ryan Long threw a heck of a game,” Cleland said. “We limited the walks and he did a heck of a job keeping his pitch count down as well.”
The Legion held a 1-0 lead through six innings, before scoring an important insurance run in the seventh which ended up being the difference.
Holding a 1-0 lead in the seventh inning with one out, Cade Simmons caught the defense off guard by dropping down a bunt which rolled slowly down the third-base line for an infield single.
Simmons moved up into scoring position with a stolen base, advanced to third on a productive groundout to the right side of the infield and came in to score on a defensive error.
“On day one, we talked about how important baserunning is,” Cleland said. “To score runs, you have to get baserunners on and be smart. One of the biggest things we talked about was taking open bags and jumping on any opportunity to take the next base.”
The Express notched their first hit of the game with a triple off the wall in right-center field in the bottom half of the seventh to ruin the no-hitter, but Long stayed focused on the mound and closed out the game with the lead in tact to earn the win.
“On the offensive side, I thought there were very few opportunities given to us, but we were able to take advantage of them,” Cleland said. “They committed a few errors here and there and we were able to capitalize and get the baserunners around to score.”
Pittsburg will take on Bartlesville in a doubleheader at 6 p.m. at Jaycee Ballpark.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.