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Examiner
  • Fielding falters in disappointing A's defeat

  • Grant Gavin deserved a better fate on the opening night of the 25th Annual American Legion Wood Bat Invitational at Hidden Valley Park in Blue Springs.

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  • Grant Gavin deserved a better fate on the opening night of the 25th Annual American Legion Wood Bat Invitational at Hidden Valley Park in Blue Springs.
    The Blue Springs Rod's Sports A's starter allowed just one hit and three unearned runs through six innings, but defending Wood Bat Invitational champion Washington (Mo.) Post 218 took advantage of six uncharacteristic A's errors to claim a 7-1 victory in opening night of pool play.
    Washington starter Tyler Tuepker allowed three hits and his lone run in the bottom of the fourth inning and was all but untouchable the rest of the game as he allowed one run and four hits and struck out seven for the Pool D win.
    "We came out looking like a scared team," A's manager Mike Rooney said after his team fell to 30-6. "If you look like a scared team and play like a scared team against a team that good, you don't have much of a chance of winning.
    "I'm very disappointed in the way we played. We're going to find out how much pride we have in the way we come out and play tomorrow. We better play better than we played today, and I think we will."
    Gavin refused to point an accusing finger at his teammates, although they committed three errors that led to his three unearned runs in his six-inning stint.
    "I didn't have my best stuff today," said Gavin, who fell to 4-1 and saw a dip in his 1.35 earned run average. "I gave up some early walks and hits and put us in a bad position. The guys are so much better offensively and defensively than we showed today.
    "We're going to be OK. We'll come back strong tomorrow."
    Washington (24-5) scored all the runs it needed in the top of the first as Grant Eckelcamp walked and went to second on a wild pitch. Trent Leimkuhler followed with a single to center that glanced off Kyle Reed's glove, allowing Eckelcamp to score.
    Noah Borgerding then drove home Leimkuhler when the A's committed the second error of the inning.
    Reed doubled to lead off the fourth for the A’s and Corbin Hare followed with an RBI single to drive home their lone run of the game. Will Kesling followed with a single but he and Hare were left stranded.
    Tim Dunker relieved Gavin in the seventh and the wheels came off for the A's as Washington scored four runs on three hits and two more A's errors.
    "We take a lot of pride in how we play, and none of us were happy about this loss," Hare said. "You can lose, and accept it if you play well. Tonight, we just gave this game away. Grant pitched well enough to win – he just didn't get any support out there.
    Page 2 of 2 - "You're going to see a different A's team tomorrow."
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC
     
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