It was a mixed bag for the Evanston Legion AA baseball team at the Ross Kesterson Memorial Tournament over the weekend, the first tournament the Outlaws have hosted in years.
Evanston posted a 1-3 record for the tournament, with three of the four games decided by a single run. The Outlaws dropped games to Layton, Utah, and Lone Peak Black, another Utah team, to open play on Friday; they posted their only win of the tourney on Saturday, a 6-5 come-from-behind victory over Lone Peak Maroon. Evanston squared off with the Maroon again on Sunday for third place, losing a heartbreaker 12-11.
“Unfortunately, we keep having one inning in every game that comes and bites us,” said Outlaws manager Chad Thompson. “We have errors, mental errors, throwing errors — whatever it may be. I felt like we should have beat Layton, and I felt like we should have beat Lone Peak Maroon both times. We put ourselves in positions to win ball games, but when you score zero runs when you really need to, you’re not going to win many games.”
The Outlaws are on the road this weekend for a tournament in Jackson; Thompson said the team will take the week to shore up their defense.
“We’re gonna work on a lot of defense, along with a lot of situational stuff,” Thompson said. “But mostly we’ll work on getting that defense back together.
Layton, Utah 9,
The Outlaws opened the tournament Friday afternoon against Layton, Utah, coming up short in a late-inning comeback bid to fall 9-8.
“We gave up big innings in this one, and it cost us,” Thompson said. “We started off slow in every game, it seemed like, except for the last one.”
After giving up three runs in the top of the first, the Outlaws plated a pair of their own in the bottom of the frame. Reid Gross singled and Guss Allred doubled to put a pair of runners in scoring position; a sacrifice fly by Jagger Mitchell and an RBI single by Ryan Fisher cut the lead to 3-2.
The Outlaws tied the game in the bottom of the second, when Gross doubled in Brenden Thompson to make it 3-3. The tie wouldn’t hold, however, as Layton exploded for five runs in the top of the third to seemingly put the game out of reach at 8-3.
Not content to roll over, Evanston cut into Layton’s lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. With two on and one out, Jordan Schneider singled to right field to score Casey Periman; with the bases loaded a short time later, Thompson walked to make it 8-5. With only one out and the bases still loaded, Layton’s pitcher bore down, striking out Kendell Cummings and getting Gross to fly out to end the inning and the threat.
Layton answered with a run in the top of the fourth to push their lead to 9-5; both teams were scoreless in the fifth.
Because of a two-hour limit on games in tournament play, the sixth inning represented Evanston’s final chance to pull the upset. After Allred and Periman reached base on back-to-back miscues in the field, Mitchell smacked an RBI double to left to make it 9-6. An error on the play scored Periman to make it 9-7, and a sac fly by Fisher plated Mitchell to make it 9-8. That was as close as the home team would get, however, as Layton struck out the next batter to end the game.
Clayton Moyles got the start for the Outlaws, giving up nine runs (eight earned) on eight hits and striking out two over three innings. Schneider threw three innings in relief, giving up just one hit and striking out two.
Evanston had 10 hits in the contest, led by two hits and an RBI each from Gross and Schneider. Mitchell and Fisher tied for the team lead in RBIs with two apiece; Allred, Periman, Moyles and Thompson also had hits, with Thompson credited with an RBI.
Lone Peak Black 12, Outlaws 0
The Outlaws closed out play on the first day of the Ross Kesterson Memorial Tournament against Lone Peak Black, a team that advanced to the Utah Class 6A state title game last season.
And though the final score might not indicate it, the Outlaws were in it until the final inning of play. Down 4-0 in the top of the seventh, Evanston’s pitching ran out of steam, allowing eight runs on eight hits in the inning to put the game out of reach 12-0.
“Lone Peak Black is basically this year’s graduating seniors at their high school,” Thompson said. “They’re a solid program. They’re well-disciplined at the plate, and very well-disciplined in the field. They’re a fantastic defensive team.”
Gus Allred got the start on the mound for the Outlaws, and was solid through six innings, allowing two runs in the first and two runs in the fourth before being touched up for four runs in the seventh.
“Gus pitched fantastic — he gave us the opportunity to stay in that game,” Thompson said. “I think he just ran out of gas. But he was dealing, so you don’t want to pull him out.”
Jordan Schneider pitched an inning in relief, giving up four runs on five hits.
Evanston scattered five hits over seven innings, with singles by Reid Gross, Ryan Fisher, Jagger Mitchell and Gus Allred; Clayton Moyles had the Outlaws’ only extra-base hit, a double in the bottom of the seventh.
“We gave ourselves a chance by staying in the game, just couldn’t string hits together — it seemed like everything we hit was right at somebody,” Thompson said. “Sometimes, that’s just baseball.”
Lone Peak Maroon 5
Saturday night’s game against Lone Peak Maroon was one for the books, and featured a little bit of everything: A late-inning rally by the home team, the first use of a Texas tie-breaker this season and what would have been an insurance run by Lone Peak Maroon called an out instead, the result of runner interference.
With their bats quiet for most of the contest, the Outlaws stormed back from a 4-0 deficit in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game. Because of time constraints, the game technically went into extra innings, with Evanston holding on for the 6-5 win.
“That one was a back-and-forth affair,” Thompson said. “We ended up having to go into [the Texas tie-breaker] with them and loaded the bases, and they walked in the winning run.”
Trailing 4-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth, the Outlaws’ bats awoke from their early-innings slumber — a single by Kendell Cummings and a walk by Conner Peterson set the stage for Jagger Mitchell’s two-run double, halving Lone Peak Maroon’s lead at 4-2. A single by Gus Allred and a walk by Clayton Moyles loaded the bases for Brenden Thompson, who again showed a veteran’s patience at the plate in earning an RBI walk. Allred scored from third on a past ball to tie the game at 4-4, and the Outlaws were back in business.
With two outs and a runner on first in the top of the sixth, Lone Peak Maroon appeared to score the go-ahead run on a shot to right field, with the runner scoring all the way from first. But as the runner rounded third, he plowed through Outlaws’ third baseman Jayden Schneider, who was waiting on the throw from the outfield. He was called out for runner interference, and the inning ended still tied at 4-4.
“That’s a hard call on both sides, but I feel like it was the right call,” Thompson said of the play. “The umpire felt like when the runner extended his arms, that’s when it became an issue. If it would have just been a case of them running into each other, then that’s a no-call.”
With the game having reached it’s two-hour time limit, the decision was made by the umpires to go a California tie-breaker: Each team would get an at-bat, with a runner starting from second and one out; the runner on second would be the player who made the last out the previous inning.
Lone Peak Maroon scored the go-ahead run on a single in the top half of the inning, and went into the bottom of the seventh with a 5-4 lead.
With the Outlaws down to their last at-bat, Fisher was placed on second with one out to start the bottom half of the inning. With a runner in scoring position, Jagger Mitchell smacked a double, plating Fisher and tying the game at 5-5. Back-to-back walks to Gus Allred and Moyles loaded the bases for catcher Hank Allred, who was moved up from the Outlaws’ B squad for the tournament. Showing discipline at the plate, the younger Allred worked a walk as well, scoring Michell for the 6-5 win.
Fisher got the complete-game win for Evanston, giving up four runs (one earned) on 11 hits and striking out two.
At the plate, Mitchell went 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs; Kendall Cummings and Gus Allred also collected a pair of hits. Fisher helped his own cause at the plate with a single and a run scored, while Thompson and Hank Allred each had an RBI.
“We had some younger kids [Jayden Schneider and Hank Allred] we had to call up due to injuries, so Jayden playing third base and Hank catching for us worked out well for us,” Thompson said. “They both played fantastic — stepping up a level then finding yourself in a game that intense, that’s a lot to put on a couple of 16-year-olds. Come state tournament time, we’re going to need them — that was a good experience for both of them.”
Lone Peak Maroon 12, Outlaws 11
Sunday’s rematch with Lone Peak Maroon for third place was just as exciting as the night before, with both teams collecting 13 hits in the contest; when the dust settled, Lone Peak Maroon returned to Utah with a 12-11 win.
“That was a tough one,” Thompson said. “I felt like we were in control of the game, and we were rolling — then they had the one inning, and things were reversed.”
The Outlaws were the visiting team due to a 1-3 record and quickly jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, highlighted by Gus Allred’s RBI single.
After a scoreless inning by both teams in the second, Evanston added to their lead with three runs in the top of the third. A double by Jagger Mitchell and a two-run double by Clayton Moyles made it 4-0; Brenden Thompson then singled to right to score Moyles and push the lead to 5-0.
Lone Peak Maroon finally got things going in the bottom of the third, plating six runs to take their first lead of the contest at 6-5.
Evanston answered with a six-run inning of their own in the top of the fourth to retake the lead — with bases loaded and one out, Jordan Schneider singled in Casey Periman to get the ball rolling.
A Moyles sacrifice fly and a Thompson single made it 8-6; an RBI double by Hank Allred and a two-run single by Kendell Cummings pushed the lead to 11-6.
Holding a comfortable lead, the Outlaws brought in Jayden Schneider to pitch in relief of Ethan Beus in the bottom of the fourth. Schneider had a rough go — Lone Peak Maroon scored five runs on six hits to tie the game 11-11. With the Outlaws unable to get anything going in the top of the fifth, Lone Peak hit an RBI walk-off single in the bottom of the fifth to win the time-shortened game 12-11.
Four Outlaws collected multiple hits in the contest, led by Cummings (two hits, two RBIs) and Thompson (two hits, two RBIs); Hank Allred and Periman each had a pair of hits, with Allred collecting an RBI. Moyles finished 1-for-3 with 3 RBIs, while Gus Allred and Jordan Schneider each finished with a hit and an RBI.
Mitchell had a double and two runs scored, while Ryan Fisher rounded out the hitting with a single and two runs scored.