Entering Friday’s doubleheader, Coeur d’Alene was sputtering following a disastrous 1-5 tournament and Prairie was humming along after playing well at a Spokane tourney.
Can you say flip-flop?
Coeur d’Alene thrashed Prairie 7-2 and 8-3 in American Legion baseball at cozy Brett James Memorial Field with a straightforward approach: Better hitting, pitching and defense.
“They deserved it,” said Prairie coach Darren Taylor, never one to sugarcoat the facts. “Their pitchers made big pitches when they had to and they made the (defensive) plays. We didn’t do either.”
Coach Paul Mather said his Lumbermen turned things around prior to Friday’s games.
“We’re going with 3-hour practices,” he said. “When you go 1-5 in a tourney and get your butts spanked, you can either take it easy for a while or get it going. We chose to get going.”
CdA is moving up in the District I standings. The Lumbermen improved to 3-1 in league and 11-16 overall heading into a doubleheader at Lewiston today. Prairie slipped to 6-4 and 17-16.
CdA’s Kurt Ramsrud and Ryan Scharnhorst each went the distance, feeding the Cardinals a steady diet of off-speed pitches. Ramsrud held Prairie to eight hits and Scharnhorst yielded only four in the second game.
Still, the Lumbermen were down 2-1 in the opener when Jesse Hoorelbeke cracked a solo homer in the sixth. That ignited a six-run inning as the Cardinals committed three errors and four Lumbermen stroked hits, including Nick Groth’s two-run homer.
Ramsrud lived dangerously in several innings, but escaped as Prairie batters repeatedly hit sky-high fly outs.
“They were trying to lift everything out of the park,” Ramsrud said. “They’re not going to hit my curves out of the park too often.”
In the second game, Andy Oss, Groth and Nick Rook each had two hits and first baseman Chuck Shriner deftly scooped up several one-hop throws.
CdA built a 4-0 lead before Prairie’s Ryan Novak and Al Bevacqua hit solo homers to trim the deficit in half.
The Lumbermen added four runs in the sixth, two coming on another Hoorelbeke homer, a long blast to left-center that left the park in a big hurry.
In each game, seven of the nine Lumbermen batters hit safely. Defensively, right fielder Oss threw out a Prairie runner at home and third baseman Hoorelbeke and center fielder Todd Hughes each made nice plays to end Cardinals threats.
“Those were true team wins, everybody contributed,” Mather said.
And they were team losses for Prairie.
“We were swinging the bats like it was the first and second games of the year,” said Taylor, doubly confused after his team hit .360 in Spokane.
“Maybe we need to go on the road or something.”
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