2011-07-13 / Sports

Bainbridge team tops locals in Legion ball

By John Bernhardt
The magic of summer Legion baseball is a catching a glimpse of what kind of a baseball player you someday might be. In small doses, Legion players use a taste of success that gives them a mind’s eye view of future triumphs.

For two and-one-third innings last Wednesday night, Margaretville’s Post 216 left-handed pitcher Matt VanValkenburg may have seen himself as a future Whitey Ford, or ‘Louisiana Lightning’ Ron Guidry or, perhaps, Jon Lester as he worked on the hill for the home team. VanValkenburg showcased the upside of his pitching potential, coasting through the early innings before running into trouble in the middle frames. Visiting Bainbridge/Sidney eventually caught up with Van Valkenburg and his replacements, edging Post 216, 9-5.

Working quickly
VanValkenburg toiled quickly on the mound, retiring seven of the first eight batters he faced on ground ball outs. A freshman in September, the little lefty threw only 19 pitches and allowed only one hit, a double, through the first two- and-one-third innings.

Offensively, Post 216 failed to capitalize on VanValkenburg’s early efficiency. Margaretville used a walk and back-to-back hits by Marshall Bouton and Mitch Hull to load the bases with one out in their first at bat. Two infield grounders failed to plate a run.

Bainbridge/Sidney’s running game manufactured two runs off VanValkenburg in the third. A one-out single and two stolen bases positioned Butcher at third. Rivera reached base on an infield error, stole second and later scored on a fielder’s choice.

Margaretville got a run back in the bottom of the third. Eric Bush walked to lead off the inning. Bouton drilled his second single of the game advancing Bush, and the Post 216 right fielder scored on Mitch Hull’s infield grounder.

The visitors zoned in on Post 216’s young pitcher in the fourth. Bainbridge/Sidney launched three rockets, a double and two triples to highlight a three-run outburst extending their lead to 5-1.
Down 8-2 in the bottom of the sixth, Post 216 would rally to score three times but missed a golden opportunity to do some real damage, leaving the bases full for the second time. Margaretville used a VanValkenburg single, an infield error and three base-on-balls to nourish the rally.
The Junior Legion season will conclude on Saturday in Stamford in a tournament featuring all four teams in the league.

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