Express wins own tourney
     2015-06-18      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen - Westco Express player Paul Panduro gets the out during action at last week’s home tournament. 
Although Westco Twin Cities Express fell short in their first three games of their Walmart Tournament on Saturday and Sunday at Cleveland Field in Scottsbluff, Express coach Mike Jones said the team played well but just was not able to turn performance into victory.

The Express, however, jumped ahead of the Cheyenne Post 6 Juniors by four runs after four innings in Sunday’s tournament finale, only to have Cheyenne rally to tie the game in the top of the seventh inning.
But thanks to a pair of wild pitches and a passed ball, the latter of which allowed Hever Morales to score, Westco Twin Cities escaped with the 6-5 victory and improved to 12-9 on the season.

“We made some mistakes, but we were able to overcome the defensive mistakes we made,” Express coach Mike Jones said of his team’s five errors in the win. “Nobody got frustrated and everyone just stayed at it.”

Morales had stepped in as a courtesy runner for Gunnar Buchhammer, who had drawn a leadoff walk.

With Trent Richter next at the plate, a wild pitch moved Morales to second and he moved to third on another wild pitch. Richter eventually walked, but the passed ball on Ball 4 allowed Morales to score.

Max Mason led Westco Twin Cities offensively, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and one RBI. Jackson Hohnstein went 2-for-3 with one RBI and two runs scored. A.J. Castillo-Powell was 2-for-3 with one run scored, and Buchhammer was 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBI.

In the bottom of the second, RBI singles by Hohnstein, Mason and Braden Lofink gave the Express a 4-1 lead. In the fourth, Buchhammer drove home Hohnstein for a 5-1 lead before Cheyenne scored three runs in the sixth and another in the seventh to tie the score at 5-all.
Josh Schroeder, making his first appearance on the mound, took over in relief in the second inning. Schroeder scattered four runs and three hits, struck out two and walked four in earning the win.
“Josh pitched a really good game for us and went really deep into the game,” Jones said.
“We handled the pressure fine. They put together a rally, they got some momentum and really battled back against us. We were able to keep our composure and keep under control, limit the damage and still come out on top.”
On Saturday, the Express lost to the Rapid City Post 22 Bullets 6-5 and to the Rapid City Post 320 Junior Stars 14-2. The Bullets beat the Express again, 12-7, on Sunday morning before the hosts awaited their late-afternoon finale against Cheyenne.

In Sunday’s first game, a 24-hit slugfest, the Rapid City Bullets led 8-0 after their first three innings, While Westco Twin Cities put up five runs in the bottom of the fifth, the Express were unable to pull any closer than five in the six-inning contest.

Schroeder led Westco Twin Cities offensively by going 3-for-1 with one run scored, while Carlos Felix went 2-for-3 with a walk and one RBI, Cody Snelling went 2-for-3 with a walk, run and RBI, and Richter went 2-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored.

Morales pitched the final five innings and took the loss for the Express. Morales allowed 11 runs, all 13 Bullets runs with four walks and three strikeouts.

In Saturday’s opener, Westco Twin Cities led the Rapid City Bullets 5-3 after three innings before Rapid City scored a run in each of the sixth and seventh frames, forcing extra innings. The Bullets then went ahead in the ninth inning on an Express passed ball.

Richter led the Express, who out-hit the Bullets 11-8 but committed four errors, offensively by going 3-for-5 with one run scored. Snelling went 2-for-3 with two walks, scoring once and with an RBI, while Paul Panduro was 2-for-5 with one run scored.

Against Rapid City 320, Westco Twin Cities fell in five innings. The Junior Stars scored 10 runs in the third inning and out-hit the Express 15-4.

“We had an interesting weekend. We had a mix of all kinds of situations, some good and some bad,” Express coach Mike Jones said.
“Overall, it was a good gift for us. If you can avoid staring at the scoreboard and avoid looking at the score for all of your feedback, and if you can really get in there and look at the situations and how we played and what we got done, and the things we can learn from, it was a very positive weekend.”

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