HICKMAN – Elmwood-Murdock/Nehawka created a wintertime scene on Friday with a blizzard of offense on the baseball diamond.
The Nationals dominated Auburn 12-1 in the first round of the Area B1 Junior Legion Tournament. Third-seeded E-M/N scored five times in the opening inning and sent ten batters to the plate during a seven-run avalanche in the third. The team finished the game with nine hits and four walks.
E-M/N head coach Dave Lutz said he was happy with the mental approach the Nationals took before the game. He said players knew they were in a double-elimination tournament and didn’t have to play tight and nervous. Instead of trying to smash every pitch over the fence, the Nationals strung together five singles and one double in the opening inning.
“They really played relaxed after getting those early runs, and that’s what we were hoping to see,” Lutz said. “We told them before the game to just play loose and have fun. This wasn’t an elimination game. We told them that if we won, it’d definitely be great, but if we lost, it wouldn’t be the end of the world, because we’d still have other chances to win and advance.
“We wanted them to play without feeling any pressure today, and I think that’s how the guys approached it. I was very pleased with the way they looked out there.”
The Nationals plucked the first chord of their momentum song with a double play against Auburn in the top of the first. E-M/N strummed a louder tune in the bottom half of the frame. Noah Willey, Lane Fox, Owen Snipes, Jaxson Spellman and Jakob Boucher all crossed the plate. Snipes had a RBI double and Willey, Fox, Spellman, Jakob Boucher and Austin Boucher all singled.
E-M/N expanded the lead over the fourth-seeded Bulldogs in the third. Willey, Lane Fox, Snipes, Kobe Gansemer, Jakob Boucher, Cade Hosier and Ty Fox scored for the team.
Gansemer led off the inning with a walk and Spellman and Jakob Boucher added a walk and single. Austin Boucher drew a RBI walk and Ty Fox sent two runners home when Auburn committed an error on his bunt down the third-based line. Fox then scored from third on a wild pitch.
E-M/N made it 12-1 after Willey and Lane Fox generated a walk and single. Snipes cleared the bases with a three-run homer over the fence in left-center.
Blaine Roberts and Jared Drake kept Auburn from attempting a comeback with their work on the mound. Roberts tossed the first three innings and struck out three Bulldogs, and Drake had one strikeout in the final two frames. They limited Auburn to three hits and one walk.
“Blaine and Jared threw great today,” Lutz said. “They had good command of their pitches and they let our defense make plays out there. It was great to see those two guys pitch the way they did.”
Snipes registered one double, one home run, four RBI and two runs. Lane Fox and Jakob Boucher each had two singles and two runs, and Spellman tallied one single, one walk, one RBI and one run.
Willey collected one single, one walk and two runs, and Austin Boucher finished the day with one single, one walk and two RBI. Gansemer walked and scored once and Ty Fox and Hosier each scored once.
The Nationals will face second-seeded Hickman today in the second round. The teams will play at 5 p.m. at Hickman City Park.
Auburn 001 00 – 1 3 1
Elmwood-Murdock/Nehawka 507 0x – 12 9 2