Trail’s American Legion teams couldn’t double up on their success as both the Single A and Double A teams hosted their first games of regular season at Butler Park.
While both clubs started strong with opening game victories in their respective double headers, their American counterparts proved that any game could change with one timely inning leaving both Trail teams with weekend splits in their first action on home turf.
As with most early-season action, the weekend games were decided by big innings, costly errors and/or pitching.
However, it was a perfectly executed squeeze play that allowed Spokane’s East Valley to squeak out a tight 9-6 win in the finale with the Double-A Orioles on Sunday.
Trail, which had its scheduled Saturday doubleheader against Cheney cancelled, held the hammer after they scored three runs in the fourth and sixth innings to hold off East Valley 6-3 in the opening game of the Sunday twin bill.
Brendan McKay went 3-for-3 with two runs scored while Austin Tambellini chalked up the win on the mound.
It appeared to be more of the same in the second game as Tambellini’s third-inning double ignited a five-run inning and spotted Trail a 5-2 lead.
But in the top of the sixth East Valley strung together a series of solid hits and used smart base running to score four runs and turn a three-run deficit into a 6-5 lead.
The seesaw battle continued in the bottom of the sixth when Trail loaded the bases. However, it took Nathan Soukeroff’s alert slide into first to foil a double play that allowed the Orioles to score the game-tying run. Trail went on to load the bases again but couldn’t bring the go-ahead run home.
In the top of the seventh, East Valley then tapped in to a play that’s usually reserved for well-seasoned teams, not for clubs playing in only their third game of the season.
With runners on second and third, East Valley’s Alex Josquin executed a perfect squeeze bunt as Mike Jensen broke for home. It worked so well East Valley scored on the bunt and also on the subsequent overthrow at first. Josquin would eventually come around to score to cap a three-run inning that vaulted East Valley into a 9-6 lead they carried to the end to leave Canada with a win and a loss.
Meanwhile, Friday night, the Single-A Orioles took their first turn at Butler Park and rode a fourth-inning grand slam by Quin Hall to a 10-6 victory over Chewelah.
Hall’s slam highlighted a six-run inning as Trail padded an early 3-2 lead. The Orioles capitalized on five walks and added four hits during the big outburst.
Hall picked up the win on the mound while Brendan Volcanno scored two runs.
Things looked good for a sweep of the Washington team as Trail took a 7-4 lead into the seventh inning before errors and timely hits sparked a four-run Chewelah rally and lifted them to an 8-7 win in the second half of the doubleheader.
The late comeback spoiled a couple of good performances at the plate by Volcanno and Hall.
Volcanno had a perfect game at the plate going 3-for-3 with three runs scored while Hall also scored three times and went 2-for-3.
“We hit really well and our pitchers threw strikes but we had some untimely errors,” said manager Darren Miracle.
He added the players were happy to get playing on their home field, especially under the lights on Friday. The team gets another chance to perform on home turf this weekend when they host the powerful Mead squad for a pair of games at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.