Blue Springs Post 499 Fike revs up bats again in sweep of Teamwork Sports

By Michael Smith
Special to The Examiner
Blue Springs Post 499 Fike's Johnny Miles, left, avoids the tag to slide safely into second base in the first game of Wednesday's American Legion baseball doubleheader against Kansas City Teamwork Sports at Hidden Valley Park. Fike went on to a sweep with 13-3 and 11-10 wins.

Things didn't go well offensively for Blue Springs Post 499 Fike in a tournament in South Dakota last weekend. 

The squad faced top-notch pitching and was shut out in their first three games before scoring 12 runs in a victory in the final game. 

That contest could have been what jump-started the Fike offense that had been struggling of late. It got back on track in a doubleheader against Teamwork Sports of Kansas City Wednesday at Jim Moran Field at Hidden Valley Park. Blue Springs had some timely hitting and took advantage of some shoddy defense from its opponent to capture a 13-3 mercy-rule victory in five innings in the first game and then outslugged Teamwork 11-10 in the nightcap. 

“We knew we had a good offense, we just ran into some good pitching up there (South Dakota),” Fike manager Matt Hagerty said. “We knew we would bounce back.” 

It seemed like the struggles on offense carried over for Post 499 as it fell behind 3-0 after the first two innings of Wednesday’s first game. Fike drew three walks in the first inning but left the base loaded and then went down 1-2-3 in the second. 

Blue Springs Post 499 Fike's Brad Kitsmiller (15) slides safely into third base with a two-run triple in the fourth inning of the first game of Wednesday's American Legion baseball doubleheader against Kansas City Teamwork Sports at Hidden Valley Park. Fike went on to sweep with 13-3 and 11-10 wins.

The Fike bats finally got going in the third when Bayler Andersen hit a wind-assisted, ground-rule RBI double that bounced over the left-field fence to get his team on the board, scoring Kayden Albertson from first. Jaxon Rogan followed with an RBI single down the left-field line to narrow the gap to 3-2 going into the fourth. 

Fike exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fourth highlighted by Brad Kitsmiller’s two-run triple to deep left field and Andersen’s RBI triple. Rogan added an RBI double on a sharp line drive to left and two runs scored thanks to three consecutive errors by Teamwork Sports. 

“The wind was blowing out, all you really had to do was get the ball in the air and it was going to carry,” said Kitsmiller, the Grain Valley High School graduate who was 2-for-4 with an RBI and his first triple of the season in the first game. “I think it’s a mental thing, just being back home and getting swings. We just have to get right mentally and we can be a good hitting team.” 

Blue Springs ended it by mercy rule with five runs in the fifth. Albertson hit an RBI single over the head of the right fielder. A dropped pop fly and wild pitch allowed two more runs to score. Rogan, who finished 3-for-3 with four RBIs in the first game, then hit a walk-off, two-run single to left field. 

“The difference was some of the guys in South Dakota threw pretty hard,” Rogan said. “We were getting used to sitting back and not swinging too early. If we are locked in, we can put up as many runs as we want.” 

After struggling the first three innings, Fike pitcher Layne Lynn settled down in the final three while making his first start. He picked up the win after tossing all five innings and allowing three runs on five hits and three walks while striking out six.

Blue Springs Post 499 Fike starter Layne Lynn throws a pitch in a five-inning complete game in a 13-3 win over Kansas City Teamwork Sports in the first game of Wednesday's American Legion baseball doubleheader. Fike went on to sweep with an 11-10 come-from-behind win in the second game.

Lynn, normally a relief pitcher, made the start because Fike has doubleheaders scheduled for Thursday and Saturday. In the fourth and fifth innings, Lynn settled down and retired the side each time. 

“He did a good job,” Hagerty said of Lynn. “He might have had a little bit of nerves with it being his first start. He found his groove and battled through and finished strong. 

“The big thing with him is we wanted him to work ahead, so he could mix it up more late in counts, so he can throw the pitch he wants.” 

Fike pounded out 10 hits to rally from a 9-1 deficit to claim the win in the second game in extra innings. 

Blue Springs Post 499 Fike's Hunter Hughes beats out a throw to first base during the first game of Wednesday's American Legion baseball doubleheader against Kansas City Teamwork Sports at Hidden Valley Park. Fike swept with 13-3 and 11-10 wins.

Teamwork Sports scored six unearned runs in the fourth inning to go up 9-1, but Fike answered with five runs in the top of the fifth to cut it to 9-6. After Teamwork scored one in the fifth to make it 10-6, Fike scored one run in the sixth and three in the seventh to tie it and send it into extra innings. 

Andersen doubled and scored on a Johnny Miles double to left center field to give Fike the lead in the 10th. Miles then s struck out two in a scoreless bottom of the eighth for the save. 

Kitsmiller added two more hits, four stolen bases and a run, Miles and Hunter Hughes each had two hits and an RBI and Colten Blackmer had a hit and two RBIs as Fike capitalized on six Teamwork errors for six unearned runs. Andersen and Rogan each doubled and scored two runs and Spencer Chase added a hit and an RBI. 

Albertson earned the win in relief, allowing no hits and three walks and striking out three in 1 2/3 innings.