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Stilly shells Linden in AA Legion play
Its an exuse a baseball coach doesnt often hear from players who dont show up for a game, but coach Colby Knudson heard it over and over for the game June 2. Thats when SAT testing decimated the roster of the AA Legion Stilly Valley Rapids for their game against Linden.
The schedule of the college board tests meant a number of older players on the team were forced to miss the action.
Its a testament to the depth of the team that Stilly still clubbed Linden 14-0 behind the strength of some young players taking their first swings at a higher level.
We brought a bunch of young guys up for the game,Knudson said. We were a little shorthanded but we worked well out there. The guys worked hard overall, even though we had the five kids who came on short notice.
Leading 2-0 in the third inning, Stillys bats got hot. Jerod Baker singled home Greg Holsworth from second base. Tim Hancock singled behind him, stole second, and scored on a Jon Brown single. Kyle Ayres came up and drilled a shot in the shortstop/third-base hole that the Linden shortstop made an impressive stab to pick up. However, he could not get off an accurate throw to first base and Ayres arrived safely as the ball skidded by first base. An alert Brown raced home to score on the play. A hard groundout from the bat of Kyle Smith ended the inning, but Stilly appeared to have locked in on Linden pitcher Ryan Martin.
Jesse Etchey pitched a flawless fourth inning for Stilly and the bats quickly got cranking again in the bottom half of the inning. Etchey singled to start things off for the home side and Greg Holsworth lined a shot to right field to put runners on the corners. Tim Hancock hit into a fielders choice that scored Etchey from third and moved Holsworth to second. Jon Brown then singled, Kyle Ayres walked and Joel Larson singled behind. Kyle Smith was hit by a pitch and then the wheels really fell off for Linden. Two more walks forced in two more runs. Greg Holsworth then singled home another run. Another walk followed by a Jacob Stalkfleet single put Stilly ahead 13-0 and Garth Rose walked to force home another run to make it 14-0.
There would be no comeback for Linden as Etchey retired the visitors in order in the top half of the fifth inning to put an exclamation point on the victory. The win moves Stilly to 5-3 overall, 1-0 in league play.
Said Coach Knudson.
Weve been in every single game, even the ones weve lost. We lost by one run to Burlington and one run to Bellingham. Then we came back and beat Burlington by a run and got Bellingham back in a doubleheader.
His young players stepped up as needed and delivered an easy win for the coach, who felt particularly pleased with Jesse Etcheys performance on the mound.
Jesse pitched great out there for us. I want him to work ahead of hitters, get ahead in the count and throw strikes.
Etchey certainly did that as he kept Linden off the scoreboard entirely.