The diamond, and Dimond, was unkind for Juneau’s Midnight Suns Post 25 American Legion baseball team on Saturday in their first game since 2001.
“We didn’t come out offensively like we had hoped,” Juneau manager Andy Macaulay said. “We were down 9-1 before we put some hits together. It seemed like we could get guys to third base but we couldn’t bring them home.”
Dimond Lynx Post 21 stopped Juneau 9-5 at Adair Kennedy Field in league action with a steady display of small ball hits that pushed runs across the plate in each of the first seven-innings of play.
A lead-off single by the Lynx’ Payton Lauwers and his steal of second base and a single by Tony Hillman put Dimond in position with the corners filled and Lauwers scored on Jordan Clevenger’s sacrifice fly.
Juneau’s Jackson Pavitt fielded a hard grounder at second for the second out and Kurt Vandor struck out the next hitter to end the first inning of American Legion play at Adair.
Dimond would add another run in the second as the Lynx’ Toni Bost singled and advanced to second on an error and scored on a fielder’s choice.
The Lynx scored two more in the third as Hillman led off with a single, Clevenger doubled and sacrifice flies by Grant Remmer and Mahlon Cleveland scored the duo.
Juneau’s first run came in the bottom of the third inning. After a leadoff strikeout, Matt Cunningham doubled to left field and RJ Markovich singled to put runners on the corners. Tal Norvell smacked a single down the line to score the first Juneau American Legion run of the season as Cunningham crossed the plate.
Vandor allowed two singles in the fourth inning and struck out two batters, but a balk with a runner on third scored the Lynx’ fifth run.
“I though Kurt pitched well,” Macaulay said. “He struggled a little bit getting behind with batters but he battled pretty hard and I though RJ (Markovich) did a good job coming on in relief.”
Juneau threatened in bottom half of the inning with leadoff singles by Tanner Petrie and Vandor but the Lynx ended the threat.
Dimond scored two more runs in the fifth inning when Juneau had the Lynx down to two outs and no one on base. Lynx’ batter Mahlon Cleveland was hit by a pitch, Mason Anderson singled, Bost hit an RBI single and Chris Thorp followed with another RBI hit.
Lauwers led off the sixth with a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a fielders choice, and scored on grant Remmer’s single to left field for an 8-1 lead.
Dimond’s final run came in the seventh inning. RJ Markovich took the mound and struck out the first batter. The Lynx’ Thorp was hit by the next pitch to take first, advanced on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a Lauwers’ double.
“They are a strong team,” Macaulay said of Dimond. “They showed they can definitely hit. They put the bat on the ball well.”
Juneau made a run in the bottom of the seventh. Jackson Pavitt lead off with a single and Tod Baseden arched another single to reach base. Cunningham ripped another single down the third base line that scored Pavitt. Markovich followed with a single to load the bases. Norvell hit an RBI single scoring Baseden and Christian Gould nailed a 2-RBI double scoring Cunningham and Markovich. The rally ended as Patrick Millay hit a hard line drive that Dimond caught and doubled off the runner on second base.
Neither team made a threat in the eighth or ninth innings and Dimond claimed the 9-5 win. Dimond is second in the conference with a 4-1 record (4-2 overall), while Juneau is 0-1 (1-1).
Unofficial Stats - Juneau VS. Dimond Game 1
Juneau pitching - Kurt Vandor 6 innings pitched 6 strikeouts 3 walks 7 earned runs / RJ Markovich- 3 innings pitched 3 strikeouts 2 earned runs.
Juneau batting- Matt Cunningham- 3-5 double, RBI single, 2 runs scored / RJ Markovich- 3-5 double, 2 singles, 1 run scored / Tal Norvell- 4-5, 4 singles 2 RBI’s / Christian Gould- 3-5, 2 RBI double / Patrick Millay- 1-5, single / Tanner Petrie- 1-4 single / Kellen Johansen 1-1, 3 steals / Kurt Vandor- 1-3 single / Jackson Pavitt- 1-4 single, run scored / Todd Baseden- 1-4 single, 3 strikeouts.
Dimond pitching - Grant Remmer- 7 strikeouts, 7 Innings pitched, 5 earned runs / Sean Bradley- 2 innings pitched, 1 strikeout.
Dimond batting- Payton Lauwers 2-4, RBI double, 2 runs scored / Tony Hillman- 2-4, 2 singles, run scored / Jordan Clevenger- 1-5, RBI double / Grant Remmer- 2-5 2 RBI’s / Mahlon Cleveland- 1-3 RBI groundout / Mason Anderson- 1-4, single, run scored / Toni Bost- 3-4, RBI single / Chris Thorp- 1-3, RBI single / Byron Lowe- 2 runs scored / Kenny Armstrong- 2-5, RBI single.
In opening ceremonies, former Legion great Roger Grummett (1958 state playoff team) threw the ceremonial first pitch to son John (state champion team 1984).
Boy Scout Troop 6 representatives Shafer Suzuki (of the senior division Yankees) and Samuel Dobson (major division Braves) carried the United States and Alaska flags.
The two teams also played a seven-inning non-league game.
Christian Gould made a diving stop at third base to force out the tying runner in the bottom of the seventh and preserve a 5-4 non-league win over Dimond. Jeffrey Pusich pitched a complete seven-innings for the win. Game wrap up will run in Monday’s paper.