Strafford, Mo (OzarksSportsZone.com) -- The Strafford Indians faced off against the Marionville Comets for the Southwest Missouri Wood Bat Tournament Title on Saturday afternoon in Strafford. It was a competitive pitcher’s duel through four innings, but Strafford exploded for a 10 run fifth inning and cruised to a comfortable 14-2 victory in five innings.
Jacob LaSalle took to the mound for the Comets in the top of the first. LaSalle was effective using his curveball to induce easy groundballs in the early frames. Blake Lutgen was able to reach base on a single and proceeded to steal second, but LaSalle was able to escape the inning with no damage done.
Dalton Peterson would be the pitcher for the Indians in the bottom of the first. Taking advantage of the wooden bats, Peterson found success by simply throwing strikes all afternoon. After Geoffrey Stafford reached base on an error, Peterson was able to sit the next three batters down in order.
LaSalle struck out the Chanler Collins and Brady Wilson to lead off the top of the second inning. He would go on to retire the next four batters in order. Peterson also found his grove in the second inning as he stuck out Seth Smith en route to retiring the side. He issued a walk with two outs in the third, but was able to get out of the inning without surrendering a run.
The Strafford bats woke up in the fourth inning. Kyle Foley led off the inning with a walk and was moved to third on a Lutgen single. Jacob Wade cleared the bases as he stroked a curveball to the right field wall. The Comets threw the ball away while trying to beat Wade to third, and he was sent home to give Strafford a 3-0 lead.
“He threw me five curve balls the first time and he beat me,” said Wade. “So I knew he was going to throw another curveball and I took it the other way.”
Chanler Collins followed this with a single and the Indians used small ball to move him around the bases and ultimately bring him in to score.
The Comets would answer in the bottom of the fourth. Alex Weathermon led off the inning with a single. After advancing to third, Seth Smith would bring him in to score. Smith would also score to make it 4-2.
The Strafford offense did not skip a beat in the top of the fifth inning. Jake Berry led the inning off with a single and it was off to the races from there. The Indians would send 15 players to the plate and score 10 runs in the inning.
The Comets would not go quietly though, and loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. Aaron Head nearly hit a single to get Marionville back in the game, but the ball died out in the infield and was caught by the short stop. The game ended after five innings due to a 10 run rule.
Marionville Head Coach Jamie LaSalle was pleased with the overall performance of his team in the tournament.
“I thought we played extremely well, we took four out of five and played tough all week,” said LaSalle. “I know we aren’t happy with second place, we want first place and we are going to keep working to get there.”
The Comets and Indians will face off again on Tuesday.
“We have to turn right around and play them Tuesday, so we have to work on some stuff on Monday and come out and try to beat them on Tuesday,” said LaSalle.
Strafford entered the game on a three game losing streak, but Wade and Strafford Head Coach Shane Pierce believe that winning five games in a row in this tournament will help set the tone for the rest of the season.
“It really starts off the second half of the season, we came in after losing three games in a row and we could have won all three,” said Wade. “Winning this is going to be a big confidence builder.”
“We had a rough week the week before coming in here, so this was the perfect time to win five in a row,” added Pierce.
The Indians improve to 13-5 with the victory while Marionville drops to 12-5.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Strafford 0 0 0 4 10 14 14 1
Marionville 0 0 0 2 0 2 5 0
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