Nine-run eruption lifts Gene Taylor's to big win
Two big innings with the bats and a solid pitching performance from Caleb Coleman made for an easy victory Saturday as the Gene Taylor’s American Legion baseball team returned to the field after one week of rest.
Gene Taylor’s pounded out 19 hits in battering the Boulder Post 10 Panthers 17-4 in a Legion A Elite League game that was shortened to five innings by the 10-run rule.
Gene Taylor’s (12-5-1) had lost four of its previous five games, all in the Tony Andenucio Memorial Tournament in Pueblo, as the team struggled to score runs, being limited to five or fewer runs in each of those four losses.
Returning home and swinging the bats well was a welcome sight for Gene Taylor’s coach Dave Jahnke, who said his team had a lighter week of practice to help recover after playing 14 games in 12 days.
“We practiced three days instead of four (during the week), and I think it showed in the approach (at the plate),” Jahnke said. “Our guys got their hands through.”
Gene Taylor’s took advantage of a short porch in left field at Palisade High School. No distances were posted on the outfield fence, but Jahnke estimated the distance down the line in left field is about 300 feet.
No matter the distance, he added, “The ball flies out of here.”
The first player to hit a home run was cleanup hitter Tyler Sandoval, who put Gene Taylor’s ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the first inning with his two-run shot to left field.
Gene Taylor’s then took firm control of the game in the second inning, sending 14 batters to the plate to score nine runs. Seven hits, a walk, a hit batter and two errors accounted for the damage and an 11-1 lead. No. 9 hitter Kenny Wood hit a three-run home run to left field for the big hit in the inning, and Michael Price and Troy Levinson each hit a two-run single.
Gene Taylor’s batted around the order again in the third inning for six more runs and a 16-4 lead. Zane Abeyta hit a run-scoring triple, and Levinson drove in two runs with a double.
Coleman benefitted from the run support, although he would have been fine with half of what he got. He limited Boulder to four hits and a walk, and he struck out four batters.
Three of the Panthers’ base runners were erased by the Gene Taylor’s defense, as Coleman picked a runner off first base in the first inning, Gene Taylor’s turned a 6-4-3 double play in the second and catcher Tyson Zanski picked a runner off first base in the fourth.
Coleman closed the game by retiring the side in order in the fifth.
Jahnke said Coleman worked the edges of the strike zone well, reflecting a fix Coleman needed to make after placing his fastball in the middle of the plate too much last week.
“Caleb threw strikes, and that’s all we ask for, minimize the walks and throw strikes,” Jahnke said.
Sandoval and Wood led Gene Taylor’s with three hits apiece, and each drove in four runs, as did Levinson. Levinson, Abeyta, Easton Woods and Kadan Cummings each had two hits.
Gene Taylor’s and Boulder will play again at 10:30 this morning at Palisade High School.
Gene Taylor’s also will host Pomona in a league doubleheader Wednesday at Canyon View Park. The first game starts at 2 p.m.