BURLINGTON — After toppling Burlington with ease on Thursday at Riverside Park, the AA Iola Indians nearly let the early-week blues get the best of them in Monday’s doubleheader.
Holding a six-run advantage into the final half inning, the Indians saw their lead diminish after a missed fly ball in right field by Zach Beckmon let three runs score. Luckily, Iola was able to hold on for the dramatic 7-6 game 1 victory. The Indians resumed their focus in game 2, capturing the 6-1 win.
Iola’s bats seemed up to the task to start game 1. Cal Leonard opened the scoring with an RBI single, scoring lead-off man Jackson Aikins. The Indians sealed one more run in the second off a sharply hit ball from Nathan Louk that was displayed in Burlington’s infield, allowing Leonard to score.
The Indians added two more runs to their lead in the second through RBIs from Ryker Curry and Brady Wiggin, giving Iola a 4-0 lead after one-and-a-half innings.
Leonard received the start on the mound for the Indians, allowing no hits while earning six strikeouts in three innings of action. Burlington scored one unearned run in the third to make the score 4-1 with four innings remaining.
Curry relieved Leonard for the middle innings, keeping Burlington’s bats quiet. In three innings of work, Curry allowed one hit and tallied four strikeouts to keep Iola in control.
After four scoreless innings for the Indians, Iola added three much-needed insurance runs in the seventh. An RBI double from Zane Whitney, and a two-RBI double from Louk gave Iola a comfortable 7-1 lead entering the final half inning.
Jackson Aikins was given the chance to close out Burlington in the seventh, but a five-run two-out rally with two runners on forced the Indians into a pitching change.
After walking the first batter to load the bases, Eli Smith sent Burlington out swinging with a pitch in the zone to help Iola hang on for the 7-6 win.
The Indians started game 2 with a bang. A ground ball hit to Butlington’s shortstop by Whitney with the bases loaded led to an error on the throw to second, allowing three Indians to run home. Louk’s third RBI of the evening capped the scoring in the first, giving Iola a 4-0 lead.
Beckmon was the featured arm for game 2. The Crest graduate pitched three innings, tossing three strikeouts while giving up one unearned run in the first.
Iola failed to score in the second and third innings, but added two more runs to their lead in the fourth. With two runners on, Curry delivered with a two-RBI double to make the score 6-1.
Louk relieved Beckmon for the final two innings, snatching two strikeouts en route to Iola’s 6-2 victory.
The two wins keep the Indians perfect at 6-0 on the season. Iola will travel to Parsons for a doubleheader on Thursday before their weekend tournament in Garnett.