Makeshift team falls to Gatton

Published 9:37 am Friday, June 12, 2015

Summer ball is all about getting on the field, even if you have to put together a team at the last minute.

That’s exactly what happened on Thursday at T.A. Dugger after Mitchell was unable to make it to their game against Bill Gatton in 15-year old and under American Legion play.

But even that team, consisting of players from Horace-Mann, Eagle Center and even some from the Bill Gatton, couldn’t beat Bill Gatton who took advantage of early errors, and left with a 9-5 win.

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“We kind of had to put a couple of teams together at the last minute to play this one after Mitchell wasn’t able to make it,” Horace-Mann coach Rick Walters said. “So we put together a team so they could play and the field wouldn’t go empty.”

The Bill Gatton team racked up five runs in the first inning, with all of them coming off errors by their opponents. They would score one more in the second and another in the fourth, before exploding for three runs in the fifth inning to give their pitching staff plenty of cushion.

“That lead makes it easier for the pitcher,” Bill Gatton coach Matthew Harden said. “If he is out there trying to protect a one run lead, its tough on you mentally. When you have a bigger cushion, that allows him to just stand up there and throw strikes.”

And that is exactly what his pitcher Tyler Stansberry did, as he picked up the win in four innings of work. During his time on the mound, the only two runs that were given up were unearned. He also helped his team at the plate, hitting two singles.

“He threw strikes out there and Tyler is a good pitcher,” Harden said.

The team made up of mainly Horace-Mann players tried to crawl back in the third inning as the Eagle Center’s Jon “Boy” Ramsey scored after reaching base with a single. Matthew Lawson was the next to score, but those were the only two runs they were able to put on the board.

Things changed slightly in the sixth inning, as Bill Gatton player Dalton Rouse knocked a three-run home run against his former team over the right field fence, bringing Brandon Combs and Gavin Harden home to bring the hybrid team closer, 9-5.

“They can’t say that we gave them two bad players,” Harden said with a smile, as he referred to Rouse’s homer.

Ultimately the game came down to errors on routine plays, which affected both teams. But it doomed the Horace-Mann squad.

“If we didn’t make those errors in that first inning and they didn’t score the five runs early, then we would have won the game,” Walters said. “It was a good game, they had fun and that is the main point out here.”

Another player who contributed for Bill Gatton was Colton Miller, who knocked a double and closed out the final inning on the mound with three strikeouts.  Caleb Lewis also knocked an RBI single in the fifth inning to bring in Bill Gatton’s final run of the night.

For Horace-Mann, it was Brandon Combs who ended the day with two doubles, while Weston Crow hit three singles on the day.