After scuffling and bumbling through five innings Wednesday night, the Lee’s Summit Outlaws desperately needed a big frame.
Boy, did they ever get one.
Twenty runs, 12 hits and a bundle of walks, balks and errors later, the Outlaws turned a lackadaisical three-run deficit into a 21-4 swamping of Warrensburg Post 131 in the first round of the American Legion Zone 2 baseball tournament at Hidden Valley Park. And while the monster inning was impressive, it didn’t leave Outlaws manager Mark Bradford totally impressed with his team’s effort.
“That was the worst 21-4 game I have ever seen,” Bradford said.
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After managing only one run and five hits through the first five innings, the Outlaws brought 27 batters to the plate in the sixth. Four Outlaws – Hayden Bradford, Oscar Medrano, Matt Campbell and Cade Ragland – scored three times in the inning. Medrano had four RBIs and Jason Gonzalez drove in three.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been on a team that scored 20 runs in an inning,” Hayden Bradford said. “That was pretty crazy doing that. It was very long.”
The onslaught began with Campbell and Ragland drawing walks from Warrensburg starter Lane Hurley, who had thrown four scoreless innings after giving up a run in the first. Hurley was pulled after giving up the two walks.
“That first pitcher was gaining confidence all the time,” Mark Bradford said. “I told them all we’ve got to do is break the ice and things would start flowing. And that’s pretty much what happened.”
A single by Medrano brought home the first run, a balk scored the next, a bases-loaded walk by Justin Root tied the game and an RBI single from Justin McEnroe gave the Outlaws the lead. And that was two runs before the first out.
In his second trip to the plate, Medrano came up with the bases loaded and cleared them with a double to right field that blew the game open. The next three Outlaws connected to drive in runs and help bring an early end to what was supposed to be a nine-inning game.
“At first we had hits but we couldn’t find the holes,” Medrano said. “But in that inning we found all the holes.”
That wasn’t the case the first five innings, when the Outlaws slumbered at the plate and in the field. Warrensburg took a 2-0 lead when its first two batters reached against Outlaws starter Jeremy Root and scored with the help of the first of four Outlaws errors. A wild throw to third on an attempted steal in the third led to another run.
The Outlaws got a run in the bottom of the first when Medrano walked and Gonzalez singled him home, but scoring opportunities in the next four innings fizzled in a slew of pop-ups. A leadoff double by Grant Hill in the second went to waste, and they left the bases loaded in the fifth.
“I was pulling my hair out,” Mark Bradford said. “We were popping up, which drives me crazy. I was trying to get them to hit hard balls on the ground because we really didn’t test their infield at all.”
That would all change in the sixth. The Outlaws, 30-10, played St. Joseph Post 11 Thursday in the second round of the double-elimination tournament, which runs through Saturday at Hidden Valley Park. The top two teams will advance to the American Legion State Tournament.
“I was disappointed in the beginning but happy we won,” Mark Bradford said. “Hopefully we’ll carry this hitting into tomorrow.”