The Pratt Legion 86ers were set to play in the Smoky Ford Wood Bat Tournament this past weekend at Green Sports Complex. For a variety of reasons, not enough teams were able to participate and the event was cancelled. The 86ers were able to get the Alva Renegades to come to town for a double-header on Friday, however, and the familiar crack of wooden bats rang out, so all was not lost.


 

The Pratt Legion 86ers were set to play in the Smoky Ford Wood Bat Tournament this past weekend at Green Sports Complex. For a variety of reasons, not enough teams were able to participate and the event was cancelled. The 86ers were able to get the Alva Renegades to come to town for a double-header on Friday, however, and the familiar crack of wooden bats rang out, so all was not lost.

The 86ers got by Alva 4-3 in the opener and closed out the twin bill with a 7-3 victory, thus sweeping the Renegades.

Alva pushed a run across in the top of the first inning and held a 1-0 edge until the bottom of the third. At that point, the 86ers plated a pair of runs to take the lead despite only managing one hit.

With one out, Brian Hellman walked, then stole second and reached third on a wild pitch. Scott Beecher picked up the RBI with a groundout to short. BJ Dean also reached via the BB, then advanced all the way to third on another errant pitch that rattled around in the spacious area behind home plate at Smoky Ford Field. Logan Bertholf then knocked Dean in with an RBI single.

Pratt added a couple of runs in the 4th to increase their advantage to 4-1. Joel Clark led off by drawing a walk. After 2 were out, the Alva hurler loaded the bases by walking Skylar Dean and bouncing one off of Hellman. Jake Beecher came through with an RBI single that scored Clark. There was some confusion on the base paths for the 86ers on the play and Beecher ended up in a rundown. Luckily, the Renegades mishandled the ball and Skylar Dean was able to scurry across the plate for the 86ers’ second tally of the inning.

The Renegades made things interesting in the top of the 7th. A couple of careless throws by 86ers on routine infield grounders sandwiched around a couple of solidly driven base hits gave Alva 2 runs, and got them back to within one with ducks on and nobody out. Winning pitcher Hellman was able to work out of the mess, however. Catcher Logan Bertholf made a diving snag of a foul pop-up and another batter skied out. Hellman closed the deal by whiffing the Renegades last hope and the 86ers had a 4-3 nail-biter in their possession.

In the nightcap, it was back and forth for a while. There were four lead changes in the first four stanzas. With Alva up 1-0 and two out in their half of the third, the 86ers were the beneficiaries of a bout of wildness from the Renegade pitcher. Hellman, Jake Beecher and BJ Dean walked in rapid succession to load the bases.

Logan Bertholf ripped a single to drive in Hellman and Beecher. Dean and Bertholf then executed a double steal to poise two more runners in scoring possession, but the rally died when the next 86er fanned.

The Renegades regained the lead in the top of the 4th, plating a pair to go up 3-2 at that point. In the bottom of the 4th, the 86ers reversed the lead again by scoring two. With one out, Sheldon Hart and Drake Everett both singled. They both moved into scoring position, executing a double steal. Following an 86er strike-out, Brian Hellman came through with a clutch RBI double, pushing both Hart and Everett across. 4-3 Pratt at the end of 4.

The score would stay that way until the 86ers exploded for 3 insurance runs in the bottom of the 6th. With one out, Everett doubled and Skylar Dean walked. After a fly-out, Jake Beecher legged out an infield hit to load the bases. BJ Dean, the 86ers moundsman in game 2, then provided himself with a big cushion by rifling one into the left field corner, clearing the bases.

There were no heroics left in the Renegade bats as BJ Dean set them down meekly in the top of the 7th, and the 86ers had swept Alva, winning 7-3 in the finale.

With the sweep, Pratt pushed its record on the season to 5-1. They will be back in action Saturday, June 30, with a home doubleheader against McPherson.