Iola AA Indians win Topeka tourney title

Iola's AA American Legion team went 3-1 and won a tournament against schools from the Kansas City area and Hays in Topeka. The Indians will make their home debut tonight against Ottawa.

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Sports

June 8, 2021 - 9:58 AM

The Iola AA Indians pose for a photo after winning a tournament in Topeka over the weekend. Team members are, front row from left, Aiden Jones, Nathan Louk, TJ Taylor, Eli Smith, Drake DeLaTorre and Titan Michael; second row, Trent Jones, Bradyn Cole, Dillon Bycroft, Zach Beckmon, Cooper Riley and Noah Ashmore. Photo by Stephanie Bycroft

TOPEKA — Iola’s AA American Legion baseball team didn’t let an early setback spoil its weekend.

After dropping a 2-1 decision to Ottawa’s AAA Legion squad, the Indians rebounded nicely, winning three straight games to bring home a tournament championship Sunday at Topeka’s Bettis Sports Complex.

Iola did so the hard way, knocking off previously unbeaten Hays, 8-3, Sunday morning to earn the championship game berth.

The Indians then prevailed, 8-5, over Rumble KC, an all-star team featuring a number of college-level players from the Kansas City area. Prior to the championship game, Rumble KC had allowed only a single run through the tournament.

“Our pitchers did a fantastic job,” said head coach John Taylor. “Our pitchers won this tournament for us.”

Indeed, hurlers Zach Beckmon, Aiden Jones, Nathan Louk, Bradyn Cole and Eli Smith all took turns shutting down opposing offenses.

Sunday

Iola 8, Rumble KC 5

In the championship game, Beckmon took the hill against one of the toughest offensive teams Iola will see this season, Taylor said.

He gave up nine hits over five innings, but kept the Rumble KC largely in check.

“He gave up some runs, but you’re gonna do that against a team like that,” Taylor said.

Aiden Jones then slammed the door with two scoreless innings of relief.

Meanwhile, Iola broke open a 5-5 tie with three runs in the sixth.

Drake DeLaTorre singled to lead off the frame. TJ Taylor followed with a bunt that Rumble KC misplayed for an error, sending DeLaTorre home for a 4-3 lead.

A walk to Smith followed, then a wild pitch brought Taylor home from second. An error on the Rumble KC catcher then allowed Smith to score the final run.

Rumble KC threatened one final time, with back-to-back singles with one out in the seventh. But Jones induced a double play to end the game.

Iola took full advantage of its scoring opportunities.

Walks to Louk and Cole in the first led to Cooper Riley’s RBI single. A Rumble KC fielding error brought Dillon Bycroft home for a 2-0 lead.

Taylor and Smith singled to lead off the second before Beckmon was hit by a pitch. All three came around to score on wild pitches to make it 5-1. 

Rumble KC scored one in the second, two in the third and one in the fourth to tie the score.

Indian batters worked 10 walks in the contest, and Rumble KC pitchers delivered six wild pitches.

Iola 8, Hays 3

Louk wobbled a bit early, spotting Hays a 3-0 lead on two singles, two walks and a fielding error, but clamped down from there. He allowed only two more hits the rest of the way as Iola took control.

The Indians responded promptly with four in the top of the second.

Trenton Jones was hit by a pitch, and DeLaTorre reached on an error before Taylor’s single loaded the bases.

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