Post 41 stretches win total to nine
Legion team takes doubleheader from Easton with wins Saturday at home
It took an Easton base-running blunder, but Tonganoxie finally registered a second doubleheader sweep in seven attempts Saturday at the TRC baseball complex.
After posting a 12-1 victory in the first game of the American Legion doubleheader, Tonganoxie Post 41 led the Easton Outlaws, 8-7, heading into the bottom of the seventh.
In their final at-bat, the Outlaws wouldn't go quietly.
After Tonganoxie's Josh Putthoff forced the first batter to ground out, he walked the next two batters. Putthoff then struck out the Outlaws' No. 9 batter for the second out.
In the next at-bat, Tonganoxie second baseman Hunter Samuels bobbled a ground ball. He looked toward first, but there was no play.
Eaton's lead runner, however, was making a charge toward home. Samuels started to run him back to third, but the secondary runner was headed toward third.
With two runners grasping for one base, the lead runner was tagged out and Tonganoxie preserved the win.
Easton was undefeated last week before Tonganoxie split a doubleheader in Leavenworth. And on Saturday, Post 41 handed the Outlaws their second and third losses of the summer season.
For Tonganoxie, it was a welcome scenario -- win both games of a doubleheader.
It was the first time the team had swept a twinbill since the middle of last month when the team beat Leavenworth Post 23.
With the victories, Tonganoxie improved to 9-5 on the summer season.
"Those were a couple quality wins," Tonganoxie coach Andy Gilner said. "They had only lost one game so far and that was to us.
"That was big."
Also huge was Tonganoxie's rally in the second game. The team trailed, 7-2, after two innings, but the Chieftains added one in the third, four in the fourth and one in the fifth and scored just enough in the 8-7 win.
Putthoff started the team off with a double in the fourth. Chris Newton and Michael Shaw kept the rally alive with a base hit and walk respectively. Lead-off hitter Hunter Samuels also walked before Eudora High graduate Monte Steffey knocked in two runs with a double.
Kirk Rodell then scored the game-winner in the fifth. Rodell opened the inning with a single before John Volk knocked him in three batters later with a single of his own.
After the Outlaws scored seven runs off starting pitcher Kelton Starcher in three innings, Putthoff also was in trouble in the fourth. With two out and two on, Putthoff had a 3-0 count on an Easton batter who in the first inning belted at grand slam over the left-field fence.
Gilner, who didn't want a repeat of the batter's home run, motioned to the umpire for an intentional walk with the 3-0 count.
The strategy paid off.
In the next at-bat, Putthoff registered a strikeout and found a way out of the jam.
Tonganoxie next will play today against the Bonner Springs Cobras in Bonner Springs and Friday against the Lansing Reds in Tonganoxie. The team then is scheduled to play Monday in Leavenworth against Geiger. All doubleheaders have 6 p.m. starts.
Tonganoxie 4-9, D-Backs 16-1
Before Saturday's doubleheader against Easton, Tonganoxie was caught in a pattern. Post 41 would lose in a rout in one game. In the other game, Tonganoxie often would win a lopsided contest.
In the first game Thursday against the Bonner Springs Diamondbacks in Bonner Springs, Tonganoxie gave up five home runs in a 16-4 loss in game one.
In the second game, however, Tonganoxie jumped out to a 6-1 lead after two innings and eventually won, 9-1.
Only two of those first six runs were earned. The Bonner Springs starter in the second game walked six batters in the first two innings, had four wild pitches and hit a batter.
Although Tonganoxie won by eight, the team left 13 runners on base. In three innings, the team had its final out with the bases loaded.
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