Although it won’t go into the record books as a victory, Independence Post 21 baseball coach Tim Madsen had reasons to be positive.
After the game, he told his team to consider it a win after it fell 8-4 to St. Peters (Mo.) Post 313 in its third game of the American Legion Wood Bat Invitational Thursday at Blue Springs High School.
Considering Post 21’s first two games of the tournament, Madsen’s glass-half-full mindset definitely was not misplaced. The team collected just four hits in a 1-0 loss Wednesday against Warrensburg Post 131 and went hitless in a 10-0 defeat to the Dickinson (N.D.) Roughriders in a morning game Thursday.
“I saw a completely different team tonight than I did this morning,” Madsen said. “I have to try and find some positives where we have them. We swung the bats better, but we were still a little lackluster at the plate. We should have put more balls in play than we did.”
Against St. Peters, Post 21 more than doubled its hit total from the previous two games combined, scoring four runs and 10 hits off starting pitcher Drew Quinones.
“I think everyone is getting back into the swing of things,” Post 21 catcher Cody Gregory said. “Our offense has been on and off this year, and we’ve been thrown off our rhythm with all the rain delays. We’re starting to get our groove back.”
Gregory and Mitchell Herrick led the effort, each going 3-for-3, with two runs scored between them.
“Mitchell is one of those players you look forward to having on your team,” Madsen said. “You can move him anywhere in the lineup, and he’s going to do what you need. He’s had a solid tournament. Even in the game earlier today he should’ve had a hit, but he was robbed by a great play in the outfield.”
In Gregory’s case, he credited his improved hitting to adjustments in his swing he made in the batting cages following the Dickinson game.
“I really needed to make changes in my swing, and it really paid off today,” Gregory said. “I changed my stance and swing completely. I had a preloaded swing before, now I have a full load.”
Even though Post 21 saw stark improvement in its offense, St. Peters brought the lumber, too, scoring four runs in the first inning on Austin Alvarez’s two-run, bases-loaded single and a two-run double to deep left field from Hayden Vaughn.
Post 131 made it 5-0 in the bottom of the third as Luke Wigglesworth scored from first on a hit-and-run single by Alvarez, aided by a bobbled ball in the outfield.
Independence made things interesting in the top of the fourth. Gregory led off with a single, took second on a throwing error, took third on a wild pitch and scored on James Curtin’s double to deep left. Post 21 cut the lead to two after Herrick and Justin Madsen scored on an infield error.
However, Joey Moses helped St. Peters add an insurance run in the bottom half, driving in Quinones on a double to the right-center, and Quinones put the game away in the sixth with a two-run blast to make it 8-3.
Curtin’s RBI infield single in the seventh brought the final score to 8-4. In the defeat, Post 21 lost leadoff hitter Nick Adrales after he got hit in the shoulder with a fastball in the fifth inning. Ben Hellon will take his place in Friday’s game against De Soto (Mo.) SMCI.
DICKINSON (N.D.) ROUGHRIDERS 10, INDEPENDENCE POST 21 0: Independence Post 21 couldn’t get anything going against the Dickinson Roughriders and went hitless in a 10-0 loss earlier Thursday.
The Roughriders’ runs came with only two hits, thanks to some shaky Post 21 defense.
“We were just terrible in the field, and we didn’t come to play at the plate,” Tim Madsen said.