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Stilly juniors go down swinging
Pitching was in short supply as the Stilly Rapids junior baseball team took on the Stanwood Spartans on June 2. The two teams slugged it out, both squads reaching double figures in runs, but Stanwoods bats provided too much pop and they overpowered Stilly 19-11.
The back and forth affair got off to a rocky start for Stilly as starting pitcher Colton Rongue struggled with his command. After throwing a flawless first inning Rongue conceded a leadoff walk followed by two singles to load the bases in the second. Two consecutive walks squeezed home two runs and a passed ball put Stanwood up 3-0 early.
Rongue kept plugging away and struck out two Spartan batters to end the threat.
In the third inning Stilly brought in Lance Randeau to pitch. Randeau got into a small jam, conceding a one out double, but left fielder Tanner Skaglund made a spectacular running catch on a hard-hit ball headed for the corner to save a run. Skaglunds catch kept the Spartan runner on second base and gave Randeau a chance to work himself out of the inning. However, Randeau gave up a single to the next Stanwood batter and put Stilly in a 4-0 hole.
In Stillys offensive half of the inning, the home side got on the board. A leadoff walk to Austin Carey preceded Ben Larsons being hit by a pitch. With Larson and Carey aboard, Ian Davis bunted down the third-base line, ostensibly to advance both runners. The Stanwood pitcher fielded the ball but instead of taking the safe out at first base, threw wild to third base, allowing both Carey and Larson to score. Davis advanced to second on the play and Colton Rongue singled him home for another Stilly run. Rongue moved to second on a passed ball charged to the Stanwood catcher and Justin Shepard singled to score him on the next pitch. Stanwood quashed the threat after that, but not before Stilly had leveled the score at 4-4.
In the fourth inning the Spartans went back on top. After a single, Stanwoods clean-up hitter launched a moon shot triple well over the head of the centerfielder. Stanwood followed that up with another RBI single to lead 6-4 going into the bottom of the fourth.
That was when the Stilly bats really heated up. After battling back to tie the score at six, Stilly used clutch hits from Colton Rongue, Kyle Thomas and Ian Davis to forge their way back into the lead. Rongue singled in the go-ahead run to make it 7-6, Thomas doubled him home, then Davis drove in Thomas. Justin Shephard and Ben Larson also drove in runs to put Stilly ahead 10-6 at that point.
Unfortunately for Stilly, they could not hold the lead as the Spartan bats took over the game. By the end of the fifth, Stanwood had tallied eight runs to ease comfortably back into the lead at 14-10. Stilly pitching changes did nothing to put out the Spartan fire. Stanwood never looked back and went on to tally five more runs in coasting to the 19-11 final score.
Despite the loss, Stilly finished their stretch of regular season play with a stellar record of 15-6-1.
Said Coach Robb Smith.
We beat every other team from Arlington along the way. Overall our season has been very good, weve seen the kids develop from beginning to end. Beating the other Arlington teams ranks high on the list of highlights from the year.
With the regular season in the books, Stilly will look to continue on in post-season tournament play.