It was a tale of two games Wednesday for the Evanston Legion AA team, splitting a non-conference, day/night doubleheader on the road at Rock Springs.
Game one was all Outlaws, winning in a rout 14-2 — Ryan Fisher had the hot bat for Evanston, going 3-for-4 with a double and 4 RBIs, while pitchers Ethan Beus and Caysen Smith combined to throw a no-hitter.
Rock Springs flipped the script in the nightcap — the Sand Puppies jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, cruising to a 16-6 win to earn the split.
“We came out strong in the first, and just did not play well in the second,” said Outlaws manager Chad Thompson. “It was a combination of many things.”
The Outlaws are in Jackson this weekend for the WY-ID Border War, with games scheduled against three teams from Idaho Falls. With conference games scheduled to begin next week, Thompson said his pitchers will be on a pitch count, though he expects the team to do well this weekend against strong competition.
“The Idaho teams will be tough,” he said. “Everyone we’re matched up against are good teams. There’s no way around it. They’ll be solid teams, and that’s what we want — you want to play as many solid teams as you can, and we have. We just need to shore a few things up and get ready for the stretch run of conference games.”
Rock Springs 2
The Outlaws had their bats going early and often in the first game of a twin bill at Rock Springs, pounding out 15 hits in the contest.
But the story of the game was on the mound — starting pitcher Ethan Beus and reliever Caysen Smith combined to pitch five innings of no-hit ball, striking out six Sand Puppies (three apiece) in a 14-2 rout.
“Ethan and Caysen combined for a no-hitter — that’s a great outing for them,” Thompson said. “We were able to put runs up to support them — it was a good thing. We’re trying to find a couple of more arms to add to the rotation, and those two are starting to come along, for sure.”
That Smith was able to play at all was a surprise in itself — the hard-throwing righthander was injured the last time these two teams played, and the initial prognosis had him possibly missing the rest of the season.
“Caysen had X-rays over in Rock Springs last week, when he got hit by a bat,” Thompson explained. “They told him he had three broken spots in his arm and put him in a cast. But then he went to an orthopedic specialist Monday, and they’re like, ‘There’s nothing broken.’ so they took him out of the cast, and he was ready to roll.”
Evanston plated three runs in the top of the first inning, behind RBI singles by Gus Allred and Clayton Moyles, and an RBI double by Ryan Fisher. After walking two of the first three batters he faced in the bottom of the first, Beus settled in, striking out two back to back to end the inning.
The Outlaws continued their assault at the plate in the top of the second, adding six runs to their lead. With two on and two out, Allred smacked a two-run double to make it 5-0. After Jagger Mitchell reached on an error, Fisher hit an RBI single; with the bases loaded a short time later, Brenden Thompson cleared the bases with a triple to left to make it 9-0.
Hank Allred led off the top of the third with a double, followed by a single by Conner Peterson. Jordan Schneider worked a walk to load the bases, and a sacrifice fly by Gus Allred made it 10-0. With the bases loaded again thanks to a single by Mitchell, Fisher knocked in a pair of runs with a single of his own to make it 12-0. An RBI single by Moyles and an RBI on a fielder’s choice by Thompson rounded out the scoring at 14-0.
Rock Springs scored twice in the bottom of the third to break up the shutout, the result of a walk and a couple of defensive miscues. Smith came on in relief in the bottom of the fourth and struck out three of the seven batters he faced over two innings to end the game.
“The only two runs they [Rock Springs] scored were on a couple of walks and a dropped fly ball,” Thompson said. “Other than that, we played well defensively.”
Beus was credited with the win, giving up two unearned runs on no hits and fanning three. Smith pitched two innings in relief, striking out three.
At the plate, Moyles joined Fisher with three hits, scoring once and knocking in a pair of runs. Gus Allred went 2-for-3 with a double and 4 RBIs; Thompson was 1-for-3 with a triple and 3 RBIs. Peterson, Schneider, Mitchell, Kendell Cummings, Periman and Hank Allred collected a hit each, with a double by Hank Allred and a triple by Schneider.
“We worked a few nights this week on doing better hitting behind runners, and in that first game, we definitely did that,” Thompson said. “We were plating runs, and good things were happening.”
Rock Springs 16,
The bats cooled off for the Outlaws in the nightcap, while Rock Springs came alive at the plate — the Sand Puppies collected 11 hits in a 16-6 rout of Evanston.
“We threw a couple of kids we haven’t thrown a lot this year, and they were throwing well,” Thompson said. “Our defense let us down in this one. We didn’t have Reid Gross again, and that’s hurting our defensive rotation — we’re having to move kids around in positions they’re not totally familiar with. In a way, it’s a good thing — we gotta be prepared for that, because we’re always one injury away from having to do that down the road.”
Rock Springs led 5-1 after two innings, the Outlaws’ lone run coming on an RBI single by Brenden Thompson in the top of the second. Down 6-1 in the top of the fifth, Evanston rallied with three runs behind RBI singles by Conner Peterson and Jordan Schneider to cut the lead to 6-4. The Sand Puppies answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth to push their lead back to 9-4.
The sixth inning got off to a promising start, with the Outlaws loading the bases on a walk to Thompson and singles by Casey Periman and Kendell Cummings. An RBI single by Peterson and a walk to Schneider cut the lead to 9-6, but with one out and the bases loaded, the Rock Springs pitcher struck out back-to-back hitters to end the threat.
“We couldn’t plate any more runs in that situation, and it hurt us,” Thompson said. “We had the opportunity to tie it or capture the lead, and we didn’t capitalize on it.”
The game went off the rails in the bottom of the sixth, as four walks and two hits led to a seven-run inning by the home team, en route to a 16-6 win.
Thompson went with a couple of younger arms in this contest, with Derek MacDonald getting the start on the bump for the Outlaws. MacDonald gave up five runs on six hits (four earned) and struck out two in two innings of work. Hank Allred came on in relief, giving up four runs (all earned) on three hits and striking out three; Caysen Smith and Brenden Thompson also pitched in relief.
The Outlaws finished with nine hits in the contest, with Peterson going 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs. Cummings and Moyles had two hits each; Schneider, Thompson and Periman each collected a hit, with Schneider driving in two runs and Thompson driving in one.