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Examiner
  • A's mix patience, aggression to topple Hi Boy

  • Through much of the early part of the American Legion baseball season, Blue Springs Rod’s Sports A’s manager Mike Rooney has been critical of his team’s plate discipline.

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  • Through much of the early part of the American Legion baseball season, Blue Springs Rod’s Sports A’s manager Mike Rooney has been critical of his team’s plate discipline.
    After the first half of Tuesday’s Zone 2 East doubleheader with Hi Boy Drive In/Post 340, Rooney complimented his squad’s patience, even if it was its aggressiveness that boosted it to an 18-3 five-inning victory at Hidden Valley Park in Blue Springs.
    In the first inning, the A’s (17-3, 10-3 Zone) exploded for 10 runs on 10 hits and brought 15 batters to the plate. With Rooney in the dugout instructing them to sit back and wait for their pitch, the first four A’s batters reached in at-bats that lasted no more than two pitches.
    “I’ll be honest, I was trying (to drive a pitch),” said A’s leadoff hitter Wylson Lamb, who reached on a bunt single, stole second and scored in his first at-bat in the frame before driving in two runs with a single and plating another run in his second turn. “If you’ve got the wind at your back, blowing that hard, I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t.
    “But we still had our plate discipline and we’re trying to find that one pitch we could drive. That’s the balance right there.”
    Despite having seven hitters in the lineup batting over .400, Rooney said that balance was missing through the first weeks of the season. Part of that, he said, could be attributed to the A’s jumbled schedule that has frequently been interrupted by poor weather. Last weekend’s Burnside (Minn.) Tournament was washed out, which marked the third tournament this season the A’s have lost to rain.
    But in the last week or two, Ronney said he’s seen things starting to shape up.
    “Our approach at the plate has gotten 100 percent better,” Rooney said. “We have to be patient up there. We’re swinging at good pitches. We’re laying off curveballs out of the strike zone.”
    Lamb, who also drove in a run on a fielder’s choice and scored a third time, said it’s a matter of players realizing lengthier at-bats can produce better results while Jeremy Lufft added that the team’s gotten plenty of vocal reminders from Rooney not to chase pitches out of the zone.
    “We’ve learned a lot,” said Lufft, who went 2-for-2 with a double, two RBIs and three runs. “We would swing at pitches in the dirt or pitches above our head and (Rooney) would yell at us. We just learned our lesson.”
    Kyle Reed crushed a pair of doubles while going 3-for-3 with five RBIs and three runs scored, Grant Gavin ended 2-for-2 with a pair of runs and RBIs and Corbin Hare stroked a single and double, scored and drove in two runs.
    Page 2 of 2 - After falling behind 16-0, the Hi Boy offense showed a brief spark as Austin Garcia drove in Trevor Jeffries with a single in the fourth and Blake Sellers ripped a double that plated Darby Raines and Aaron Alter in the fifth.
    Gavin notched the victory on the mound by tossing four innings of one-hit ball and striking out nine. Aaron Schuster took the loss for Hi Boy (6-13, 2-7).
    Follow Shawn Garrison on Twitter: @GarrisonEJC
     
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