Derek Walker makes a throw from his knees during action against Lebanon last week. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
July 18, 2016LEBANON — The Plymouth Durand-Haley Legion baseball team endured a tough year, but with a solid crop of young kids getting experience against older Legion players, coach Mike Boyle is hopeful things are heading in the right direction.
"We didn't have the numbers we were hoping for at the beginning of the year," said Boyle. "So we made the tough decision to go with just a Senior Legion team."
Without a Junior Legion team, many of the kids who were expected to play on the younger team moved up to the Senior Legion team for the season.
"A good percentage of the guys are 15 years old," Boyle said. "And the older guys did a great job leading them forward."
The Rangers finished up the regular season with a game at Lebanon on Tuesday, July 12, and pitcher Cole Donovan spun a solid game on the mound, keeping Plymouth in the game from the start, but the Rangers eventually dropped a 6-0 decision to Post 22.
The hosts put two runs on the board in the bottom of the first inning after Plymouth went in order in the top of the first. Derek Walker made a nice snag of a line drive to shortstop to help Donovan get out of the inning with no more runs.
Aaron Evans led off the second with an infield hit and Garrett Demas was hit by a pitch. A sacrifice bunt from Quintin Ross moved both runners up, but they were both stranded.
Donovan got some more defensive help in the bottom of the second inning after striking out the leadoff batter. After a base hit, Walker made a nice diving play of a grounder to short for a force at second and then catcher Brody Fillion threw out a runner stealing second to end the inning.
Andrew Coulombe beat out a bunt hit with one out in the top of the third inning but a double play ended the threat for Plymouth.
Lebanon was able to push across another run in the bottom of the third inning, using a walk, a base hit and a groundout to plate a run. Owen Brickley made a nice grab at second base for the first out and Evans made a nice scoop at first on a throw for out number two before a fly ball to center ended the inning.
Demas was hit by a pitch with two outs in the top of the fourth and Garrett Purrington took over on the bases for him. He was stranded when a strikeout ended the inning.
Donovan was able to work around a two-out error in the bottom of the inning but Plymouth went in order in the top of the fifth inning. Donovan worked around a walk in the bottom of the fifth, getting two fly balls to Devlin Costa in center to end the inning. Plymouth went in order in the top of the sixth inning and the defense came up with a couple of nice plays in the bottom of the sixth, as Evans made a nice stretch on a throw on a bunt and then making a nice scoop on another throw.
Plymouth went quietly in the top of the seventh inning and Evans and Purrington both made nice snags at the corners of the infield as Donovan worked around two base hits.
The Rangers were unable to get anything going in the top of the eighth inning and Lebanon was able to put some more runs on the board in the bottom of the inning. An infield hit, a bunt hit, a sacrifice bunt and a double plated two runs and another double plated the sixth run.
Boyle made the move to Coulombe on the hill and he was able to get the final out of the inning to send the game to the ninth inning.
Tyler Eaton got a one-out walk in the top of the ninth and Fillion followed with a base hit. Both runners moved up on a groundout by Evans, but they were stranded and Lebanon had the 6-0 win.
"They fought their way through some tough games," Boyle said of his team. "They've been taking things in stride, looking to improve and build a foundation.
"It's not easy showing up to the baseball field and taking it on the chin," Boyle continued. "But only good can come with playing against the talent you face in these senior programs."
The Plymouth coach was happy with how the team performed throughout the season and is excited to see what the team is able to do with a year of experience under their collective belts.
"It's only going to give us that experience and exposure to what good baseball it is," Boyle said. "And we'll work to get there."
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 569-3126 or firstname.lastname@example.org.