Indians pitching handles Garnett in home two-game sweep



June 6, 2018 - 11:32 AM

American Legion Baseball: Indians 5, Muddogs 0; Indians 4, Muddogs 2

Iola Indians head coach Levi Ashmore chuckled while he walked off the field, and said what everyone was thinking.

“Well, that’s more like it.”

After a rocky 2-2 start in their home tournament over the weekend, the American Legion AA Iola Indians grabbed two solid wins at home versus the Garnett Muddogs 5-0 and 4-2.

The wins move Iola to 4-2.

Game one saw the pitching dominance Indians fans expected heading into the season.

Starter Daylon Splane opened things up with four scoreless innings where he retired all but two batters. In his four innings pitched, Splane allowed just one hit and no walks.

“Splane probably could’ve gone a little bit longer,” Ash-more said. “With him coming back from working and not playing for a year we just kind of wanted to ease him in. We don’t want to hurt his arm or nothing. But eventually, he’ll be a guy that we expect to go six or seven innings for us.”

Cal Leonard came in to relieve Splane and had three good innings of his own, allowing just a hit and one hit batter.

Both teams were scoreless for the first three innings before Lance Daniels got things going, singling home Derek Bycroft in the bottom of the fourth to get things going.

Daniels had two-hit performances in both games while driving in multiple runs.

“I knew from watching last year that Lance was a good player and could hit,” Ash-more said. “And he’s done nothing but solidify that for me. He’s a great hitter and a great kid. If he keeps playing hard, he’ll continue to have success.”

In the bottom of the fifth, Blake Ashmore scored on a wild pitch to push their lead to two. It was Daniels again in the sixth, driving home Splane. Two more runs crossed the plate after that to push Iola’s lead to 5-0.

Daniels’ two hits led the way for Iola as Vink, Ashmore and Leonard each recorded one.

Game two was a shortened five-inning affair and Derek Bycroft started for the Indians. He cruised, moving through his three innings without a hit on him.

“Derek just threw Friday, but since we don’t play for another week we wanted to get him a couple of innings so he’s not sitting around for too long,” Ashmore said. “He’s another guy who would have thrown a complete game for us if we needed him to.”

Iola got started early in the second game, led in part by a Daniels single that drove in Splane for the Indians’ first run of the game. A wild throw to first scored Bycroft and another error scored Daniels to push the Indians’ lead to 3-0.

Kane Rogers stepped in for Bycroft in the fourth and struggled early, allowing the bases to load on an error, hit by a pitch and a walk before getting two strikeouts to close out the inning. Nate Berry came in after Rogers in the top of the fifth and had the same struggles by loading the bases on walks before getting out of the jam with just two runs’ worth of damage on the board.

“I tell the guys that no matter what, as long as you’re doing it 100 percent and playing hard, whatever happens, happens,” Ash-more said. “And those guys got themselves in a little bit of a hole but they fought their way out of it. You can’t ask for anything more. Yeah, you don’t want to walk a couple of guys to lead off the inning but after that, you have to take control and get out of the inning. That’s what they did.”

Daniels closed out his day with a leadoff triple in the fourth, allowing Ashmore to drive him home on a sac-fly to score the Indians final run of the ballgame.

He ended the day with another two hits, while Bycroft and Leonard each had one.

The Indians were originally scheduled to travel to Baldwin City to compete in a tournament over the weekend but that was canceled due to lack of teams. Iola will be back in action again on Tuesday when they travel to take on Chanute.