It is likely that venerable Carl Lewton Stadium in Carthage never hosted a pair of offensive games in succession as those that opened the American Legion AAA District 15 Tournament at Carthage on Tuesday afternoon. The Miller 39ers outlasted the Aurora team, 17-16, after blowing a big early lead and allowing Aurora to tie the game with a three-run home run in the top of the ninth. Miller then scored the winning run on a passed ball with a runner at third base.
The second contest of the tournament saw fifth-seeded Irwin-Easley Post 118 from Cassville hosting Monett Post 91, the lowest seed in the bracket. The Cassville team took a 14-0 lead in the second inning, and cruised to an 18-8 decision when the game was halted on the 10-run rule after 6 ½ innings.
Two games, 59 runs. Wow.
Every pitcher at every level dreams of a perfect game, the stuff of which legends -- and movies -- are made of. In case you missed it, Kevin Costner's "For Love of the Game" is probably the best fictional account of baseball's Holy Grail: 27 batters, 27 outs, no baserunners.
Monett's Marcus Enloe did not enjoy one of those kinds of games on Tuesday. In fact, he faced 20 Post 118 batters in a mere 1 2/3 innings, and his team trailed 13-0 when Jarod Barchak replaced him on the hill. In all, 17 Cassville batters went to the plate in that fateful second inning, and the Irwin-Easley team accumulated four walks and 10 hits, and benefitted from three Monett errors in the first two innings alone.
The Monett team fought back, scoring four runs in the top of the third, another in the fourth, and three more in the fifth inning to cut the lead to 14-8. Post 118 starter Riley Veith left the bump in the fourth inning, and his replacement, Ricky Vanderpool, was lifted to start the seventh inning.
In the second, Monett's Andy Hagedorn and Mitchell Gibson had RBI singles, and Barchak plated two runs with a single.
Barchak accounted for Monett's run in the fourth when he walked with the bases loaded.
Marcus McCaffrey drove in a run on a fielder's choice, and Brendon Meeks smacked a double to drive in Monett's last two runs.
Cassville scored two more runs in the bottom of the sixth to reestablish a double-digit lead, and then Aaron Brooks shut out Post 91 in the top of the seventh to end the ballgame.
Every Irwin-Easley starter had at least one hit in the game. Catcher Blake Dilbeck collected three hits, two of them in the epic second inning.
Monett's batters patiently accumulated 11 walks in the game from the three Post 118 pitchers.
"The second inning was a nightmare for us," said Monett Manager Blaine Trout. "We just couldn't take care of the ball."