Sometimes just one bad inning in the game of baseball does enough to derail what was a good game.


Sometimes just one bad inning in the game of baseball does enough to derail what was a good game.

The Neosho Post 163 Nighthawks found that out Thursday as the American Legion season kicked off in the 10th Annual Bob Ratzlaff/Pittsburg Post 64 Wood Bat Tournament.

The host Post 64 team scored five unearned runs and pulled out a 7-2 victory at JayCee Park.

“None of the five runs were scored, but you got to score more runs,” said Neosho coach Eddie Crupper. “We should have played good D (defense) but we are a little rusty.”

Post 64 built a 7-0 lead over Neosho, but really broke the game open with a five-run third inning that opened up a 1-0 lead in a hurry and mostly, due to errors.

With two outs in the top of the first inning, Willie Watt singled and then scored when his brother, Jesse, hit an RBI double.

Joe Wachter led off with a double and moved to third base on Tyler Bennett’s single.
Neosho’s starter Dallas Randen fielded a comebacker and recorded the out.

Willie Watt reached on a fielder’s choice as the throw to third base to get Wachter wasn’t in time and all three were safe, loading the bases with one out.

Then, Jesse Watt hit a sharp grounder that was misplayed and two runs scored. Adam McCormick then delivered a two-run double to right field, bringing home the Watt brothers, making it 5-0.

Tanner Smith capped the scoring for Post 64 when he singled in McCormick.

“They turned a double play after we had stuff going for us in the first inning,” said Crupper. “We had an opportunity to stop something in the third, but instead of two outs and almost out of the inning, they get a couple of runs. The difference was not as big as the score was.”

Pittsburg scored a run in the bottom of the fourth to go up 7-0.

Bennett, a Girard native, reached on an infield single and then stole second base. With two out, Jesse Watt delivered an RBI single up the middle to bring Bennett home.

The Nighthawks scored its runs by tallying a run in the fifth and seventh innings, respectively.

Scott Wilson reached on a bunt single to open up the bottom of the fifth inning for Neosho. A passed ball moved him up to second base.

Anthony Westfield then walked. From that point, the inning got a little interesting.

Alex Wise hit a ground ball which made Post 64 attempt a double play. The play at second was in time to get Westfield and Wise beat a swipe tag at first base.

The home plate umpire ruled runner interference on Westfield for sliding past the bag — something easy to do on the field turf installed at the park — meaning both Westfield and Wise were out.

Ty Anderson followed with an RBI single to make it 7-1.

In the seventh inning, it was Anderson who delivered again. Westfield had a one-out walk and slide in safely into second base on Wise’s fielder’s choice. Anderson then hit a RBI single to score Westfield, making it 7-2.

The game then ended when reliever Brett Marshall got two straight fly balls to end the game.

The victory went Drew Beasley, who threw the first four innings. A freshman at Fort Scott Community College, he gave up two hits, struck out one and walked two.

“We took advantage of their mistakes,” said Pittsburg coach Mike Watt, who coaches St. Mary’s-Colgan during the spring. “We run well as a team and we pushed a couple of runs across. We had some trouble hitting with the wood bat. It is hard to score and to get four or five runs, I was very pleased. Sometimes, you can only score two or three and win.”

Randen threw a complete game for Neosho, giving up only two earned runs.