Realty upends Merchants in Legion
American Legion baseball Monday night in Tonganoxie had an intra-town feel with Tonganoxie Merchants and Tonganoxie Realty squaring off in a doubleheader that had an unlikely ending.
The Merchants, 17-11, split with the Realty team, winning the first game 7-1, but dropping game two 7-5. The Merchants, which are comprised of mostly junior and seniors took on the predominately freshman and sophomore Realty team.
Pitching was strong in the first game. Merchant Derek Daniels threw a one-hitter in the victory. Singles by Zach Sanders and Brad Reischman helped the Merchants to a 3-1 lead. They added two runs in the fourth and fifth innings for insurance.
Realty pitcher James Hartshorn gave up eight hits in the loss.
Game two proved to be much tighter.
The Merchants opened with a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the second. A Matt Tate triple and a Matt Alexander double helped the Merchants to two runs in the top of the second. Realty answered in the bottom of the second when Justin Walker's single translated into a run after a passed ball and two errors.
Realty stayed with the Merchants and trailed 5-4 going into the bottom of the sixth. Then came the Merchants problems.
Pitcher Matt Alexander gave up a walk and a single before the Merchants dropped a pop fly in the infield. Alexander walked three more batters, and the Realty team strolled away with a 7-5 win after Derek Sparks disposed of the Merchant batters in the top of the seventh.
Realty coach Linn Cooper said his team started the season rugged, but has improved greatly.
"We've really come together," Cooper said. "It was a good game pitching-wise in the first game and then we had our best game of the season in the second game."
Cooper said there was some trash-talking between the teams, but it was all in good fun.
His major concern was getting the team some practice time for the high school season.
"This is developmental for the spring," Cooper said.
Merchant coach Chip Saultz, though, was frustrated with the second loss.
"Realistically, we should have won both games," Saultz said. "We can't play that way next week in Leavenworth."
Leavenworth leads the Legion league ahead of the second-place Merchants.