Gene Taylor’s slams Boulder 12-5
This was going to be easy again.
Michael Price smacked a three-run home run in a four-run first inning, and the Gene Taylor’s legion baseball team led 5-0 after two innings Sunday against Boulder Post 10. A day after routing Boulder 17-4, it looked like Gene Taylor’s could sleepwalk past the Panthers.
Instead, Gene Taylor’s got a rude awakening when Boulder showed it actually came to town to play baseball and tied the game 5-5, but Gene Taylor’s (13-5-1) responded to the Panthers’ challenge and triumphed 12-5 in a Legion A Elite League game at Palisade High School.
Boulder pitcher Dylan McBirney retired the side in order in the third and fourth innings, and the Panthers scored two runs in the third inning and three in the fifth to knot the score.
Gene Taylor’s response was to get its bats going, producing four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and three more runs in the sixth. Meanwhile, relief pitcher Easton Woods threw two scoreless innings to close out the contest.
“When it was 5-nothing, we lost focus a little bit,” Price said. “Then we locked it back in and got seven (runs).”
Price gave Gene Taylor’s the start it wanted with his home run to center field, which takes a pretty good blast at the Palisade High field.
“I like first-pitch fastball, and he got one up there,” Price said. “I didn’t think I got it out. I thought it was going to be off the fence and would be a double.”
That was the game’s lone home run and one of only three extra-base hits among Gene Taylor’s 11 hits. The hot start also was deceptive, as Gene Taylor’s mustered only three hits in the first two innings.
Gene Taylor’s actually looked more like it did Saturday when it laced eight hits in the fifth and sixth innings to reassume control.
Third baseman Troy Levinson ignited the offense in both innings as the left-handed hitter led off each frame with an opposite-field single. When Levinson stepped to the plate in the sixth, Boulder coach Colt Sedbrook even warned his defense about Levinson being able to hit to all fields.
“Troy’s probably the best pure hitter on our team,” Gene Taylor’s coach Dave Jahnke said. “He hits for pop to all fields.”
Levinson also has adjusted, Jahnke said, after starting the season “pull happy,” trying to hit everything to right field.
Tyson Zanski hit a double to deep center field to plate Levinson with the go-ahead run, and Tyler Sandoval and Quincy Campbell lofted sacrifice flies to drive in runs.
In between those runs, Price reached base on an error, allowing another runner to scoot home.
In the sixth inning, Zane Abeyta delivered the big hit, a three-run double that the left-hander pulled down the right-field line.
“We just kind of refocused and got back to the loose feeling you kind of want,” Jahnke said of the late-inning resurgence. “We were loose the wrong way for a couple of innings, and give credit to Boulder for battling back the way they did.”
Starting pitcher Sinjin Garrett earned the win for Gene Taylor’s and survived the top of the fifth when Jahnke let the lefty finish after a visit to the mound.
Garrett had allowed three runs on three hits and two walks at that point in the inning, but he responded as Jahnke had hoped and worked out of the jam.
“I just told him, ‘We’re going to go hitter to hitter here. Do you want to finish it?’ He gave me the positive vibe I wanted to see,” Jahnke said. “He got the next two guys out. Kudos to him.”
Levinson, Zanski, Abeyta, Tass Crow and Kenny Wood had two hits apiece for Gene Taylor’s, which will return to action Wednesday when it hosts Pomona in a league doubleheader at Canyon View Park. The first game is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.