The Evanston Outlaws were in Rock Springs Tuesday ahead of this weekend’s Ross Kesterson Memorial Tournament, dropping the first game of a day/night doubleheader to the Sand Puppies, but rebounding in the second to earn the split.
The Outlaws led 4-3 late in the opening contest, but unraveled defensively in the bottom of the sixth, allowing Rock Springs to plate five runs en route to an 8-6 win. Evanston jumped out early in the nightcap, and never looked back, winning 11-3.
“It didn’t go well,” said Outlaws manager Chad Thompson. “We were not sharp defensively and it cost us, especially in the first game.”
Rock Springs 8,
Jagger Mitchell took the mound for the Outlaws in the opener, and found himself in a pitcher’s duel early — both teams were scoreless after two full innings of play.
Evanston broke the stalemate in the top of the third, behind a double by Casey Periman and a single by Ryan Fisher. With the bases loaded, Periman scored from third on an error, followed by a two-run single by Clayton Moyles to make it 3-0.
Rock Springs answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the third to bring the game back to even. The Outlaws retook the lead in the top of the fifth, when Mitchell scored on an error, but the lead was short-lived; Rock Springs took advantage of the Outlaws’ miscues in the field to plate five runs in the bottom of the sixth and take a 8-4 lead.
“We led for most of the game, then we had a multitude of errors in the one inning,” Thompson explained. “That opened it up for them [Rock Springs], and they took advantage. We just couldn’t dig ourselves out of the hole.”
The Outlaws scored twice more in the top of the seventh behind a steal of home by Mitchell and an RBI single by Brenden Thompson. But that was as close as Evanston would get, as the Sand Puppies held on for the 8-6 win.
“We were doing fine — pitching was doing fine, and we came out scoring runs,” Thompson said. “But the bats went dry, and once the defense broke down, we had some issues.”
Mitchell’s final stats on the mound weren’t indicative of how he was pitching, according to Thompson: The righthander gave up six runs on five hits, though none of those runs were earned.
“The coaching staff wasn’t happy, the players weren’t happy,” Thompson explained. “We’ve been playing better than that up until that point, and defensively, we let Jagger down, he was pitching well.”
The Outlaws had nine hits in the contest, led by Jordan Schneider, who went 2-for-2 with a run scored. Moyles and Thompson both finished with one hit and a pair of RBIs; Conner Peterson, Gus Allred, Periman, Mitchell and Fisher had a hit each.
“We’re looking to shore some things up defensively, and go from there,” Thompson said. “Right now, that’s our biggest concern.”
Rock Springs 3
The Outlaws went into the second game of the doubleheader looking to right the ship, and they didn’t disappoint — the boys of Post 41 pounded out 12 hits en route to a lopsided 11-3 win.
But perhaps the biggest story of the night was the breakout performance on the mound by righthander Ethan Beus. Beus went six innings, giving up just one run on three hits while fanning a whopping 11 batters in the most dominating performance by an Outlaw on the mound this season.
“Ethan had a great night on the mound — the bats came alive, and Ethan pitched well,” Thompson said. “If he continues to throw that way, we’ll be adding an arm to the starting rotation we were unsure about. If he continues to improve, he’ll be a big help to the program.”
The Outlaws scored early and often in this contest, plating four runs in the first inning and three each in the second and third; they scored once more in the top of the seventh, while only allowing three Rock Springs players to cross the plate.
“[The Outlaws] were stroking the ball well in game two, and we were able to jump out to an early lead and hold it this time,” Thompson said.
That said, the miscues that doomed Evanston in the first game were still apparent in the second, though not quite as costly.
“We still had errors that second game, they just weren’t on top of each other like the first game,” Thompson said. “We still came away with something like 12 errors between the two games, and that’s just way too many.”
The Outlaws had three players with multiple hits, led by Jordan Schneider’s 3-for-5, 2 RBIs performance. Kendall Cummings also had three hits, while Casey Periman finished with two hits and an RBI.
Jagger Mitchell went 1-for-4 with a triple and led the team in RBIs with three; Ryan Fisher had a hit and two RBIs. Derek MacDonald and Beus rounded out the hitting with a hit apiece.
The Outlaws host the Ross Kesterson Memorial Tournament this weekend, opening against Layton, Utah, today at noon. Rock Springs and Green River will also be participating, as well the Lone Peak Black and Maroon teams.
“As long as I’ve been involved in the Legion program, we haven’t had a home tournament, so we’re pretty excited to be hosting one with some high-caliber teams,” Thompson said. “We’ve played Lone Peak in the past, and they’re solid.”