ALLIANCE — It took two big innings in both games of a Thursday night double header, but the Alliance First National Spartans senior legion baseball team beat the WESTCO Zephyrs twice at Bower-Shankland Field in Alliance.
In the opener, the Spartans trailed WESTCO until they scored 11 runs in the sixth inning to earn the 12-5 win. In the night cap, the two teams went back-and-forth until WESTCO put up a four-spot in the fourth inning to take control of the game, eventually winning 8-4.
Alliance head coach Carlos Palomo said neither win was pretty, but the Spartans found a way to win.
“We found a way to win, that’s kind of our mentality,” Palomo said. “I don’t care how ugly it is, just find a way to win and that’s what they did tonight. Our bats got hot and we got the momentum. It was fun to see the boys find a way tonight.”
The Spartans are now at 34-7 as the countdown to the postseason comes closer to its end. The Zephyrs are 27-17. Palomo credited his teams success to the bond that the Spartans have with each other.
“Throughout the entire season, these boys have been really fun to coach,” he said. “It’s a fun team to be around. The brotherhood that they have is incredible. I believe that’s why we’ve won as many games as we have, because we are so close and we have each other’s back.”
In the first game, WESTCO grabbed an early 3-run lead in the second inning. Jack Jones scored on an error after hitting a single to lead off the inning. K.J. Hartline later came around to score on a balk and Creighton Dike hit a run-scoring single, driving in Jerrett Richter.
The Zephyrs pushed the lead to five with single runs in third, on a Jones solo home run, and fourth inning, when Tate Carson hit a double to score Harold Baez.
Alliance stumbled early, but found its footing in the bottom of the fourth. Collin Schrawyer drew a walk and scored on a single from Ezra Ray.
The single run was the spark that ignited the Spartan offense. Alliance scored 11 runs in the sixth inning, taking the lead on a RBI-single from E.J. Gomez, and tacking on five more insurance runs before the inning ended.
Schrawyer added three RBI for the Spartans, while Trevor DuBray and Peyton Pinedo each drove in two. DuBray hit two of Alliance’s five doubles in the contest.
J.J. Garza earned the win, pitching a complete game while allowing five runs, two earned, on seven hits with five strikeouts.
For WESTCO, Baez and Jace Heimerman both recorded two hits. Carson’s double and Jones’ homer were the Zephyrs’ only extra base hits.
Palomo said he was proud of the way Alliance fought back after trailing early in both games.
“I’m proud of the way the boys handled adversity today,” Palomo said. “We never got down. We were just focusing on what we could control and trying to pick each other up.”
Both teams traded runs in the early innings of the night cap. WESTCO grabbed a slim 4-3 lead after the top of the fourth but the Spartans put together a two-out, four-run rally to take the lead. Devin Garcia, Baker, Pinedo and DuBray all drove in runs in the big inning, that was aided by three WESTCO errors.
Baker put together a 3-for-4 performance with three RBI and two runs. DuBray added two singles. Garcia scored twice.
The Zephyrs racked up six hits in the second game, all singles. Baez and Porter Robbins each added two. Panduro, Baez and Jones all drove in one run each.
WESTCO 031 100 0 — 5 7 2
Alliance 000 10(11) x — 12 16 3
WP — J.J. Garza
LP — Paul Panduro
2B — WESTCO (Tate Carson). Alliance (Collin Schrawyer, Trevor DuBray 2, Ezra Ray, Peyton Pinedo).
HR — WESTCO (Jack Jones).
WESTCO 011 200 0 — 4 6 4
Alliance 012 410 x — 8 9 1
WP — Chase King
LP — Harold Baez
2B — Alliance (Joel Baker 2).