Two big innings lift Gene Taylor’s to victory

Ty Burtard slides in to score a run for Gene Taylor’s on Friday in the fourth inning of a 12-9 victory over the Longmont Twins at Canyon View Park.

Falling behind by six runs in the middle of a nine-inning game didn’t faze Gene Taylor’s hitters.

They treat the big inning each game like it’s just a matter of time, and before the sun set Friday evening on Canyon View Park, Gene Taylor’s fashioned two such frames and rallied past the Longmont Twins 12-9 in its Colorado American Legion League baseball opener.

Longmont appeared to be in control after scoring five runs in the top of the fifth for a 7-1 lead, and Twins starting pitcher Reilly Mau had scattered six hits.

Then came the bottom of the sixth and a familiar feeling: seven runs on six solid hits, a walk and two errors.

Three singles loaded the bases with one out, then Marcus Wirth singled up the middle for a run, Cole Cummins walked to force home another run, and Brett Labonte laced a two-run single to left to pull Gene Taylor’s within 7-5. That brought Drew Bridges to the plate, and he tomahawked a high fastball to the 416-foot sign in left center for a two-run triple and a tie game.

“I felt my hands got kind of messed up, but I was able to get the bat through the zone and make solid contact and drive the ball out there,” said Bridges, who scored the go-ahead run when the next batter, Zach Lebsock reached base on an error to cap the outburst.

Gene Taylor’s coach Dave Jahnke said his hitters know the routine. The first time through the lineup, he lets them swing away. After that, they’re expected to adjust. They were passive at the outset Friday, and that needed to change.

It did.

“I think that’s why later in the game we get those big innings,” he said. “Sometimes they’re later than I like it to be.”

The seventh inning brought four more runs, highlighted by back-to-back triples by Bridges and Lebsock.

“Like coach said, we were too passive early on,” Bridges said. “It was good for us to keep our composure and change our approach and go from passive to aggressive and hit the ball and dictate it.”

Longmont scored two runs and loaded the bases with two out in the ninth, chasing winning pitcher Tate Herland, who held the Twins without a run or hit in his first three innings of relief. Walker Williams entered, induced a flyout to center field and exited with the save.

Cummins and Tristan Lafferty had three hits apiece, while Bridges, Lebsock, Wirth and Owen Taylor each added two hits to a 16-hit attack.

Gene Taylor’s (12-7) hosts Longmont in a doubleheader today, starting at 1 p.m., at Canyon View Park.


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