Pitching performances like Lee’s Summit Outlaws starter Carter Bradford had Wednesday don’t get much more efficient.
He tossed a complete game shutout and threw just 57 pitches and allowed just three hits, two walks and struck out three, all while not being 100 percent healthy. The right-hander was the driving force in Lee’s Summit’s 10-0 five-inning mercy rule win over Independence Post 21 at Jim Moran Field at Hidden Valley Park in the first round of the American Legion Zone 2 Tournament.
The Outlaws, the No. 1 seed, will take on No. 4 seed Blue Springs Post 499 Fike at 4 p.m today at Jim Moran Field in a winners’ bracket semifinal. Post 21 will take on St. Joseph Post 11 at 4 p.m. on Field 3 in the losers’ bracket.
Lee’s Summit manager Mark Bradford said Carter Bradford pitched well despite some arm issues that hampered the velocity on his fastball. He allowed only three Post 21 players to reach scoring position.
Bradford prevented Independence from extending the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. Drew Thompson was on third with one out, but the Outlaws pitcher induced two groundouts to keep Post 21 scoreless.
“I tried to keep my pitching count as low as I could and get first-pitch outs if I could,” said Carter Bradford, who could be available to pitch Sunday because of his low pitch count. “I just wanted to get out of there quick. My pitches were wild sometimes, but mostly they were pretty good.”
It also helped his cause that the Outlaws backed him with 10 runs on 10 hits.
Jeremy Root and Zane Ragland both had RBI singles in the first inning to put Lee’s Summit up 2-0. The Outlaws added two more in the second as a fielder’s choice ground ball by Ben Kobel and an error on the same play allowed Logan Adams and Blake Marnholtz to cross home.
Marnholtz drilled an RBI double to left-center field in the third inning to make it 5-0. The Outlaws (26-8) exploded for five runs in the fourth as a two-run single from Wyatt Urzendowski highlighted the frame.
“That was a concern for us after a week of not playing. We did a little extra earlier this week and it showed,” Mark Bradford said. “We came out swinging the bats well.”
Adams was 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run and Ragland finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run.
“I went out there knowing their guy was going to throw me strikes, so I went out there swinging,” Adams said. “It ended up well for me at the end of the day.
“Most of our lineup can hit. There is not really a weak spot.”
For Post 21 (8-13), Cameron Lusso was the losing pitcher and Cody Pleacher led the offense with a pair of doubles.
“We continually get behind early in games,” Post 21 manager Greg Lundquist said. “It’s extremely difficult to catch up to good teams. We had too many walks and they got key hits.”