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Moline Legion bows out at Great Lakes Regional

TERRY DUCKETT

Down early in Friday's Great Lakes Regional consolation bracket matchup, the Moline Legion baseball team had a golden opportunity to strike back quickly.

After giving up two first-inning runs to Yeager/Benson (Ohio), Post 246 tried to launch a two-out answering rally as Davis Hoffstatter doubled, then took third on a Shawn Lewis single.

However, Post 199 pitcher Nathan Albrinck got Josh Morales to ground out to end the rally, and such opportunities were few and far between for Moline after that as its season ended with a 5-1 loss in Midland, Mich.

"We just weren't able to get a whole lot going offensively," said Post 246 manager Matt Trouten, whose club finishes at 28-14. "Credit to our guys for battling all postseason and doing a tremendous job of competing and playing the game the right way."

Moline came to Michigan with a light roster, carrying no more than 10 players. However, Trouten believes fatigue was not a factor in Post 246's season-ending consecutive losses to Gladwin County (Mich.) on Thursday and then to the Cincinnati-based Yeager/Benson club on Friday.

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"They all came ready, and I don't think (fatigue) was an issue at all," he stated. "We just got beat by two good teams. It wasn't anything other than we weren't able to get runs across when we needed to."

After seeing its first-inning rally come up dry, Post 246 got the first two runners on in the bottom of the fourth as Hoffstatter and Lewis both walked to open the inning, but a double play defused that threat.

Moline finally broke through in the home half of the sixth when Hoffstatter walked, then took second on a two-out wild pitch and scored on a single by Morales. But by that time, Yeager/Benson had opened up a five-run lead.

The first two of those runs came in Post 199's opening at-bat, with Austin Dennis belting a lead-off double, then moving up on a wild pitch and scoring on an error. Kyle Krummen then singled, with two wild pitches moving him to third before scoring on an Adam Deitschel sacrifice fly.

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"I feel like those first two runs, we gave to them defensively," Trouten said. "Those were a couple of plays that are normally made, but we didn't make them. That's the way it rolls sometimes."

In the top of the fourth, Yeager/Benson made it a 4-0 game with the help of four walks, the last of which came to Brady LeGraca to score Tyler Herbers and make it a four-run game. Prior to that, a Brenan Martin sacrifice fly drove in Deitschel.

A two-out RBI single by Nate Aug widened Post 199's lead to 5-0 in the top of the fifth inning. With Albrinck going the distance and finishing with a four-hitter, giving up four walks but recording eight strikeouts, that proved to be more than enough for the Ohio contingent.

"We weren't able to get a whole lot going on offense," said Trouten. "We got to see some good pitchers and good competition here, and that's what it's about. We wanted to play our best and see where it took us, and we did that this week."

From a roster as big as 18 players, all but four — Lorenzo Gomez, Hoffstatter, Lewis and Hunter Woods — are eligible to return next summer.

Trouten hopes that the experience of being part of Moline's first regional qualifier since 2013 can spur the returning group on to even greater heights in 2023.

"This has been a tremendous opportunity and experience for the guys," he said. "I hope it shows some people that Legion baseball around (the Quad Cities) is still good, and that we can compete with the top teams in the country."

Photos: Mutton Busting and Carnival Rides, Thursday at the Mississippi Valley Fair

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