Westco Twin Cities teams rebound from last-inning losses to Spearfish: Zephyrs unable to build on Game 2 win, swept at Rapid City; Express roll past Fort Morgan in pair
     2015-06-11      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Following their respective last-inning losses to Spearfish, S.D., on Saturday, the Westco Twin Cities American Legion baseball teams used the subsequent break between games to regroup and come back in their second games to earn a split of their doubleheaders.

Sunday proved a different story for each of the Twin Cities teams, especially for the visiting Zephyrs, who on their first overnight trip of the season ran into a buzz saw against the Rapid City Post 320 Stars and lost both ends of a lopsided doubleheader to finish their trip in South Dakota.

The Express, back home at Cleveland Field in Scottsbluff, came away with a romp of a twin bill sweep over the Fort Morgan, Colo., Junior Legion, 12-0 and 14-4.

The weekend action followed a junior-senior doubleheader sweep Wednesday at Chadron for Westco Twin Cities.
In the Zephyrs’ opener against Spearfish, Westco Twin Cities held a 6-3 lead after five innings and led 6-5 going into the bottom of the seventh frame. Spearfish got its leadoff hitter home to tie the game, and then it loaded the bases and Evan Steiner’s grand slam gave the hosts the 10-6 victory.

For the Zephyrs, Trevor Garcia went 3-for-5 at the plate and drove home three runs in the opener.
In the second game, however, it was Westco Twin Cities’ turn to score a comeback win. The Z’s trailed 4-2 after four innings but scored five runs in each of the fifth and sixth frames on their way to a 14-4 win and a split of the twin bill.

Zephyrs coach Mark Moran said he was encouraged that his team could bounce back from a tough, final-inning loss to score the second-game split.
“We had a chance to win the first game and it kind of got away from us. The guys made a good recovery in Game 2 and played a lot better to get the split,” Moran said.

“When you lose a game in the bottom of the seventh, it’s tough to come back 20 minutes later, and that was the best thing I saw from our guys last weekend.”

“Whatever went wrong in Game 1 and whatever mistakes we made, you just have to get that out of your system and try to regroup and play Game 2. Our guys did a nice job with that.”

Ty Benson was 3-for-5 in leading the Zephyrs’ 14-hit attack. Benson also scored three runs, as did Garcia, who was 2-for-3 with two walks and one RBI.

Robbie Cantril also was 2-for-3 with two walks, three RBI and two runs scored, while Brad Divan was 2-for-4 with a walk, one RBI and two runs scored. Eric Olsen had a 2-for-5 game with three RBI.
On Sunday, however, Rapid City Post 320 dominated Westco Twin Cities in scoring an 8-1 and 12-2 sweep. The Zephyrs, 6-8 after the loss, were held to two hits in the opener and five in the nightcap – two by Garcia.

“They played very well in all phases of the game,” Moran said of the Stars. “Maybe it was because it was our first overnight trip. We just came out and didn’t have much energy. We couldn’t respond when they scored or couldn’t mount much of a comeback.”

In their 13-2 win Wednesday over Chadron, the Z’s scored nine third-inning runs and their other four in the fourth frame. Ty Benson and Brad Divan had two hits apiece, and Olsen scored the pitching victory.

Express on a roll after slow start

Sunday’s run-rule doubleheader sweep of Fort Morgan lifted the Express to 11-5 on the season after they began the year with a 1-3 record. The sweep gave the Express seven wins in their last eight outings and a 10-2 run entering their Tuesday night game against Gering B&C Steel.

Express coach Mike Jones said things are going well and the team is playing good baseball right now.
“The pitching is starting to come around. Guys are throwing more strikes and we’re playing really good defense behind guys as well,” Jones said. “It’s really good to see the development within our pitching staff and our defense.”

The Express, just like the Zephyrs did in their first game against Spearfish on Saturday, had a lead going into the seventh inning, 2-1. Spearfish scored twice in the top of the seventh and held on for the win.

Max Moran had a 3-for-3 game with two doubles and two runs scored and Trent Richter went 2-for-4 with one RBI at the plate in leading Westco Twin Cities’ 8-7 advantage in hits.
Jones, like Moran in Spearfish, had to encourage his young team to put the loss away and prepare for the second game, won by the Express 6-5.

“All I did was try to explain to them how things can unfold in a game, and if you let little things or a little bit of failure beat you up, you’re going to have trouble succeeding in baseball because the game is kind of surrounded by failure,” Jones said.
“We just talked about that a little bit, and they came right back out the next game and played well.”

The Express scored all six of its runs in the first two innings and held on to earn the split.
Braden Lofink got on base three times in the game for Westco Twin Cities. He had two singles, scored two runs and had one RBI.
Carlos Felix got the win for the Express. He allowed four runs over five innings, struck out four, walked two and scattered 10 hits.
Against Fort Morgan on Sunday, Westco Twin Cities held the visitors to five hits in the five-inning opener.

The game was decided quickly as the Express scored eight runs in the first three innings.
A two-run double by Richter in the first inning and a wild pitch, a groundout by Brady Sindt, a two-run error, a wild pitch, and an RBI double by Cody Snelling during the second inning helped Westco Twin Cities mount its early advantage.

Snelling and Alex Gurrola had two hits apiece, while Mason scored two runs and had one RBI.

A.J. Castillo-Powell kept Fort Morgan off the scoreboard for all five innings and struck out two in getting the pitching victory.
The Express completed the sweep with a 12-run outburst in the third inning and taking advantage of six Fort Morgan errors.
Lofink went 2-for-3, drove in one and scored two runs in leading the Express’s seven-hit attack.

Hever Morales got the win on the mound. Morales struck out four, walked two and gave up three hits in his 3-1/3 innings of work.
In the Express’ 4-3 win Wednesday over Chadron, Mason brought home the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh inning. Richter scored after he had doubled and then went from second to third on a stolen base.

Richter went 2-for-2 at the plate and scored the one run. He singled in the fifth inning along with his seventh-inning double.
Sindt got the pitching victory after he tossed three innings of shutout ball. He struck out three, walked none and surrendered two hits.

Teams resume action on weekend

The Zephyrs and Express both had split doubleheaders scheduled Wednesday and today (Thursday) against Gordon-Rushville, but all four games were canceled since Gordon-Rushville does not have enough players to field either team this week.

Westco Twin Cities then resumes play Saturday with the Zephyrs beginning a Colorado trip with a noon doubleheader against D’Evelyn and an 11 a.m. twin bill Sunday against Greeley – the same team that swept the Z’s on May 30.
The Zephyrs then travel to Hastings on Wednesday for a 5:30 p.m. doubleheader.

Moran said he hopes lessons learned from last weekend’s overnight trip can be applied to the Zephyrs’ playing better this weekend.
“Hopefully we can be better prepared for that, and this weekend we get the same thing on Saturday and Sunday and hopefully we can play better, not just Saturday but also on the second day,” Moran said. “We just need to learn from that experience, about what it’s like to play on the road that second or third day, because that’s what you get into at the end of the season.”

The Express will play host to the Walmart Juniors Tournament on Saturday and Sunday at Cleveland Field.

On Saturday, Westco Twin Cities will play Cheyenne Post 6 at 10 a.m. and Rapid City Post 320 at 8 p.m. Sunday’s games include the Express against the Rapid City Bullets at 9:30 a.m. and Laramie at 7:30 p.m.
“It’s all about development and we’re going to try to continue to develop all summer long,” Jones said. “The wins and the losses will come and go, but the way it should go is that they continue to develop and guys continue to try things and start understanding the game to take it to another whole other level.”

The Express remain at home next week for a Tuesday doubleheader against Bridgeport at 5 p.m. and a 6 p.m. game Wednesday against Alliance.
The Express and Z’s play at Sidney on Thursday in a junior-senior twin bill beginning at 5 p.m.Moran said he hopes lessons learned from last weekend’s overnight trip can be applied to the Zephyrs’ playing better this weekend.

“Hopefully we can be better prepared for that, and this weekend we get the same thing on Saturday and Sunday and hopefully we can play better, not just Saturday but also on the second day,” Moran said. “We just need to learn from that experience, about what it’s like to play on the road that second or third day, because that’s what you get into at the end of the season.”

The Express will play host to the Walmart Juniors Tournament on Saturday and Sunday at Cleveland Field.
On Saturday, Westco Twin Cities will play Cheyenne Post 6 at 10 a.m. and Rapid City Post 320 at 8 p.m. Sunday’s games include the Express against the Rapid City Bullets at 9:30 a.m. and Laramie at 7:30 p.m.
“It’s all about development and we’re going to try to continue to develop all summer long,” Jones said. “The wins and the losses will come and go, but the way it should go is that they continue to develop and guys continue to try things and start understanding the game to take it to another whole other level.”

The Express remain at home next week for a Tuesday doubleheader against Bridgeport at 5 p.m. and a 6 p.m. game Wednesday against Alliance.

The Express and Z’s play at Sidney on Thursday in a junior-senior twin bill beginning at 5 p.m.

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