Blazers crush Cubs at Zone, 32-0
Ottawa The clear blue sky, 90-degree temperature and gentle breeze were ideal conditions for playing baseball on Tuesday afternoon at Harvey Drake Field.
The only negative for the Lansing Cubs? Their opponent was Gardner.
The Blazers shattered the perfect day by unleashing a thunderstorm of hits - 28 of them - along the way to claiming a 32-0 victory in the opening round of the American Legion Class AAA Zone 2 Tournament.
The game lasted seven innings because Legion rules state that all Class AAA games do not invoke the mercy rule unless the score deficit is 10 runs or more after seven innings. If the lead is less, games must last nine innings.
Cubs coach Michael Smith said the greatest challenge his team faced was the difference in experience. Half of the Cubs' players are 15 years old. Meanwhile, the Blazers' roster was loaded with varsity players.
"It's the same situation as last year : it's boys and men," Smith said.
Gardner pitcher David Houghton was efficient on the mound as he struck out 10, walked two and allowed just one hit. He also received plenty of offensive support. Included among the Blazers' hits were five home runs - two of them grand slams by Austin Williams.
"It's hard to catch 'em on the other side of the fence," Smith said. "It's hard to defend against hits, and they had a lot of good, legit hits where we couldn't get to them."
The game started out favorably for Lansing as it trailed just 1-0 after the first inning and 4-0 after the second. Williams blasted his first grand slam in the third inning as Gardner plated 12 runs. The lead grew to 23-0 after the fourth inning. Gardner scored three runs in the fifth and six in the sixth before being shut out in the seventh.
The Cubs' lone hit came on a sixth-inning single to right field by Jason Wahaus. He later stole second base but was unable to score.
Lansing (4-26) was slated to play in an elimination game at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday against either Olathe East or Ottawa. The game was not played in time to meet The Current's publication deadline.