Tonganoxie No. 1 ousted at zone tourney
Tonganoxie scored in the first inning in each of its three American Legion zone tournament games last weekend in Hiawatha.
Unfortunately for Tonganoxie, the early runs didn't always hold up.
Tonganoxie won its first game against Hiawatha, but dropped its next two games to Ozawkie and Holton and was eliminated from the double-elimination tournament.
"We hit the ball pretty well all weekend, we just didn't seem to find the holes we did in the first game," Legion coach Michael Gilner said. "The guys came out ready to play that first game, lot of enthusiasm. We just couldn't keep the momentum going throughout the weekend."
In the team's first game, Tonganoxie faced host Hiawatha. Tonganoxie scored first on a two-run home run from Daniel Volk in the first inning and eventually blanked Hiawatha, 11-0.
Tonganoxie continued to score in the second inning. Kirk Rodell highlighted the eight-run inning with a two-run single. The team had four runners reach base on errors and another three with walks. Tonganoxie's final run came in the fourth when Kelton Starcher's single brought in Derek Sparks.
John Volk had three strikeouts in the game against a Hiawatha team that scored 18 runs the previous night against Holton. He threw 35 pitches, while Joe Park threw nine pitches in relief and had a strikeout.
In the second game against Ozawkie, Tonganoxie jumped in front, thanks to Derek Sparks' RBI single that scored Rodell. Tonganoxie, the visiting team, scored three runs in the third. Daniel Volk started the hitting with a double. In the next at-bat, Rodell brought Volk home with a single. John Volk, who reached base on an error, scored when Josh Putthoff reached based on an error.
The 4-0 lead seemed comfortable at the time, but Ozawkie answered in the bottom of the third.
With the top of the order starting the third, the first four batters reached base and eventually scored. Ozawkie scored twice more in that inning and held a 6-4 lead. Tonganoxie couldn't respond, as the team went scoreless the next four innings.
Ozawkie scored a run in the fourth and two more in the sixth and eventually won, 9-4.
Sent to the losers' bracket, Tonganoxie returned Sunday for a game against Holton. With Joe Park on the mound for Tonganoxie, Holton scored twice in the first inning against a Tonganoxie defense that committed three errors. Tonganoxie didn't score after the first inning; Holton had no problem scoring more runs. Holton broke the tie with a solo home run in the third.
Holton scored two more runs in the third and another in the fourth before a 12-run fifth inning sent Tonganoxie home with an 18-2 defeat.
It was a hot weekend in Hiawatha, but Gilner said the temperature wasn't necessarily a factor.
"You don't notice it at all when you are beating someone 11-0," Gilner said. "But it gets a little warmer when you are down 18-2."
Ozawkie, after losing to Holton on Sunday, won the rematch on Monday.
Tonganoxie's record now is 21-4.