Even when things didn’t go quite right for Seth Soto and the Lee’s Summit Outlaws, they were right enough Tuesday at Crysler Stadium.
Soto, who just finished his freshman season at Rockhurst University, belted a pair of extra-base hits and plated a run when he grounded into a double play to account for three of the Outlaws’ runs in their 4-0 win over Independence Post 21 in the first game of an American Legion Zone 2 West doubleheader.
It was plenty of run support for Brett Conrow, as he twirled a three-hit shutout with four strikeouts and no walks.
Three batters into the game, Soto clobbered a first pitch from Justin Madsen to left-center for a solo home run. In the sixth he doubled with one out and scored on Quentin Bradford’s single. In between in the third, his 6-4-3 double play made it 2-0 after Madsen had walked the bases loaded.
“He kind of just served it up,” Soto said of his homer. “It felt good, and I saw it really well.”
The Zone 2 West leading-Outlaws improved to 19-9 overall and 8-2 in zone play and have won three in a row after dropping a doubleheader Friday to Blue Springs Post 499 Fike.
Their last run came in the seventh when Dalton Woods capped a trio of one-out singles.
“We’ve been struggling a little bit,” Soto said. “We haven’t been playing up to our potential, but we’ll get there.”
Conrow dealt with two baserunners in just one inning – after a two-out error in the second. James Curtin had two leadoff singles and Nick Adrales knocked a third-inning double, but Post 21 (7-12, 6-5) couldn’t square up much else against Conrow.
“He had good command of his breaking ball,” Outlaws assistant coach Dan Woods said of Conrow. “He was able to spot the fastball and get the slow curveball over.
“He got a lot of ground balls, and with that infield so deep and shaggy as it is, that’s what you want from a pitcher.”
Woods said the Outlaws have been righting the ship partly because the pitching staff has received a breather.
“We’ve had a lot of three- or four-game stretches in a couple days, and when you have that you run through your pitching. Against Fike we were running out of pitchers.”
Madsen battled to pitch his own complete game. He yielded seven hits but struck out five and didn’t walk a batter outside of the third inning. Behind him, Post 21 played flawless defense.
Manager Tim Madsen said his team had one of its games in which it was too timid at the plate.
“They’re not going up there and being aggressive and confident,” he said. “We have games where we put eight to 12 hits on the board, and we have games where we just expect the ball to hit the bat.
“Defensively we’re as good as any team out there. We’re running down balls that might be hits, and my infield is fielding balls and turning double plays. Pitching, he can’t do much more to keep us in the game. Even the inning where he walked three, he gave up just one run. Defensively I can’t ask for any more than we’ve had.”
Madsen’s team just hasn’t matched that enough times with productive bats.
“We just need to put it together more consistently,” he said.