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Burlington takes down Rapids
Stilly Valley AA Legion baseball came into the third game of their series with Burlington having split the first two games. Each contest was decided by one run and the May 24 affair was no different. This time, however, Burlington bats got hot when it mattered and they walked away with a 5-4 victory.
In the top half of the first inning Burlington got on the scoreboard when their cleanup hitter launched a two-out, two-run home run into the foliage in right field.
Stilly got even in the bottom half of the inning after a Greg Holsworth singe and Josh Spears walk put men on first and second with two outs. Jon Brown singled to left to score Holsworth from second base, then Jerod Baker singled behind him to drive in Spears.
In the second, Stilly pitcher Jeff Huge got some defensive support in the form of a diving drop in center field. Holsworth dove to catch a line drive with a Burlington runner on first base. It appeared he had come up with the catch and the runner retreated to first, but the ball squirted out of his mitt and Stilly ended up with an easy force out at second base to end the Burlington threat.
In the bottom of the second inning Stilly jumped ahead on the scoreboard. Collin Murphy singled and stole second base. Tony Geist followed with a bunt single past the pitcher. Holsworth then hit a sharp ball down the line at third base. Murphy scored on the play as the third baseman threw to second base.
In the top half of the third, another Burlington baserunning gaffe allowed Stilly to keep their lead. A one-out drive hit to left field looked to be a certain double, and with a runner already on first base, should have produced a run. But Stilly left fielder Tony Geist burst after the ball and on an all out sprint, made a tremendous reach at the last second to snare the ball on the fly. By that time, Burlingtons lead runner had rounded second base, headed for third, totally unaware that the ball had been caught. Geist gently lobbed the ball back to the infield, where Stilly doubled off the runner and ended the inning.
In the fourth, Collin Murphy boosted Stillys lead to 4-2 when he bunted himself aboard, stole second base, advanced to third on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch. The 4-2 lead held up for two innings, but Burlington bats heated up in the sixth inning. After a leadoff flyball out, followed by a ground out, things quickly fell apart for the Rapids. A bloop single, a walk, and another bloop single made the score 4-3. Burlington singled again to knot the score at 4-4 and got a liner to make it 5-4.
That was all the scoring they would need as Stilly mounted a rally in the bottom half of the sixth, but failed to produce a run. Kyle Ayres singled to start the inning for Stilly, Lenny Lobaitz sacrificed him over to second and into scoring position. Then Collin Murphy was hit on the hands by an inside pitch and awarded first base. Tony Geist singled behind him to load the bases with only one out. Greg Holsworth followed with a shot down the third base line, unfortunately struck directly at the Burlington third baseman, who fired home for the first out. The catcher turned and threw to first to get Holsworth to end the inning.
That was how it ended for Stilly, a close defeat to a tough opponent.