Junior Legion wins thrillers

Iola's Junior American Legion Indians and the Colony Lancers kept fans on the edge of their seats Friday with a pair of nail biters. Iola managed to make the plays at the end to come away with a hard-fought sweep.

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Sports

June 17, 2024 - 2:17 PM

Iola Junior American Legion centerfielder Kale Pratt, foreground, runs down a fly ball against the Colony Lancers Friday. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

Iola’s Junior American Legion squad and the Colony Lancers treated fans to a pair of nailbiters Friday.

A similar pattern followed in both, with Iola’s Post 15 Indians breaking open close games with late rallies.

Iola fended off a furious Colony rally in Game 1, winning 6-5 with the tying run on second base as the final out was recorded.

Then in the nightcap, scheduled for five innings, the score remained deadlocked at 1-1 by the time the fifth ended, setting the stage for Iola to erupt for seven in the top of the sixth. The Lancers scored twice in the bottom of the frame, but drew no closer than the final 8-3 score.

Jensen Barker bats for the Colony Lancers against the Iola Junior American Legion Indians Friday.Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

Iola has another busy week ahead with doubleheaders at Neodesha Tuesday and Fort Scott Thursday before hosting Olpe for a pair on Friday.

The Lancers are slated to take on Paola at Fort Scott’s LaRoche Sports Complex on Wednesday.

FRIDAY’S doubleheader featured a number of enticing one-on-one matchups, because the Lancers also feature standouts such as Iola’s Nick Bauer and Marmaton Valley’s Dominic Smith on the roster, while Post 15 has Marmaton Valley’s Ty Lord and Crest High product Henry White as part of its team.

So it was natural to expect showdowns like Lord, who got the start in Game 1, pitching against his high school teammate in Smith. And then Smith got to return the favor when he was summoned to pitch in relief of Lancers starter Kade Nilges.

Bauer also got to bat against his old Iola Mustangs teammate Easton Weseloh, adding another layer of drama.

Best of all, each of the aforementioned players shined when it was their turn to perform.

Bauer started things with a leadoff walk in the top of the first. He stole second and scored on Drake Weir’s two-out double. Jensen Barker followed with a single, bringing home Weir for a 2-0 advantage.

Iola closed the gap to 2-1 in the bottom of the second. Austin Crooks led off with a walk, moved into scoring position on Reed Clifts’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Kale Pratt’s line drive single. Two hit batters and a walk to start Iola’s half of the third inning pushed Iola ahead for good. Weseloh drove in two with a single before Crooks bunted home Lord for a 4-2 lead. Pratt added another RBI single, making it 5-2.

Ruger Boren led off the fourth with a walk. He stole second and third and scored on a balk for Iola’s final run.

The Lancers didn’t go away quietly.

Brittain Davis walked to lead off the top of the second  and advanced to third on Roy Gordon’s double. Kole Walter drove home both with a single, slicing the deficit to 6-4. Will Disbrow flared a hit down the right field line, allowing Walter to score from second, making it 6-5. Bauer, who reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second with two outs, but was stranded when Weseloh retired Smith on a fly ball to center.

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