When Independence Post 21’s Nick Adrales took his last at-bat Thursday afternoon, he was “hoping to kind of ignite something,” he said.
That didn’t happen.
With Post 21 trailing the Warrensburg Post 131 Isotopes 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Adrales singled to left field, putting runners on first and third with one out. But the club squandered its opportunity to win its American Legion Wood Bat Invitational opener. Matt Hughes fouled out to first and Cody Gregory grounded out to second to conclude Post 21’s one-run loss at the Independence Athletic Complex.
Actually, Post 21’s chances of winning ended long before the seventh inning, Adrales suggested.
“I was a little disappointed in how we just kind of gave up on the game early on,” he said. “In the first inning, we got a runner on third … and we were close to scoring. And after that, we were pretty much done.”
Post 21 tapped out only four hits Thursday, including two from Adrales. It wasn’t the first time this season the club has lacked offensive firepower – and it’s not for a lack of talent, manager Tim Madsen said.
“We’ve got several guys hitting well over .300,” Madsen said. “We’re either all on at one time or we’re not on at all.”
By contrast, Post 21’s pitching was strong on Thursday, as it has been this season, according to Madsen.
“We’ve had a lot of games where I’ve had pitchers that … (have gone) the full game – letting one, two runs go through, keeping us in the game the entire time,” he said. “If we don’t swing the bat and hit the ball, we don’t win games. And that’s a message that we’ve been trying to instill in these young men.”
Starter Justin Madsen didn’t pitch a complete game Thursday, but he threw six innings, striking out five and allowing five hits, four walks and the lone run, which resulted from a two-out, bases-loaded throwing error in the second.
Tim Madsen commended his pitcher, particularly for finishing the sixth after getting smashed in his right shoulder from hard grounder that took a huge hop.
“He battled out of some situations,” the manager said. “Adrales came in there (in the seventh) and threw really well. You can’t ask for too much more.”
Tanner Ridge pitched a complete-game shutout for Warrensburg, finishing with eight strikeouts and four walks. Post 131 manager Scott Dye commended Ridge for the character Ridge showed in tight spots.
“We get to spots where we get a leadoff runner on due to an error or something like that,” Ridge said. “In the past, he’s kind of let those innings get away from him. I thought he did a good job today. He buckled down and got the next guy and kind of was able to control the game.”