Libby faced the Walla Walla Bruins Wednesday night in a 6-4 loss, but the Loggers continued to show growth across the board heading into the Big Bucks Tournament.
Tim Carvey, who has stood out defensively but struggled some on batting, went three for four at the plate, with two doubles and a single.
“He looked really good in batting practice,” Logger Manager Kelly Morford said. “I told him in (batting practice) he was my pick to click today.”
There was increased offensive initiative from the team overall, even in the final inning. On sacrificial flies in the seventh first by Quade Anderson, then by Garrett Gollahon, Shayne Walker and Carvey both made for home without hesitation to score the final runs of the game.
While a loss, the game once again overturned the dynamic of playing well early, then flagging in the final innings, that had plagued Libby early in the season.
“I think we’ve been competing the last couple ball games, and I just told the guys, this game is more fun, obviously, when you’re competing and there’s strategy involved,” Morford said. “We’re having fun competing in games, and that’s a good sign. Hopefully we can keep that going.”
The Logger defense did well early. In the first inning, Gollahan took the mound fielding a bunt on the first play for an out. A ground out to Austin McCully at third and a fly out to Chris Auge in centerfield ended the half inning without a hit.
“(Gollahon) pitched a good ball game, kept ‘em off balance and pitched well enough to get a win,” Morford said. “We didn’t really support him defensively all that well, but him and Quade have had a couple of good starts, so, hopefully our pitching staff is coming around a little bit.”
The Logger offense took a few innings to get going, and after two walks, Anderson and Moxley Roesler-Begalke were left on base in the bottom of the first.
Walla Walla worked in two runs in the second, with Anthony Parish scoring on a ground out from Kaleb Pearson, followed by Richmond Heston reaching home on a single to left field by Caden McCaw.
But with two outs on the board, Anderson at catcher showed his reflexes, snapping a throw off to second baseman Alex Svendsbye to catch McCaw attempting to steal.
Libby faced another hitless inning, leaving Auge on base from a walk at the end of the second.
The Bruins continued their advance in the top of the third. Walla Walla’s Seth Ahrens hit a grounder to third, giving Kyler Tiner a clear shot at home. Bobby Holtzinger followed with a double on a fly to Auge at center field. Though Auge got the ball to third baseman McCully to tag Holtzinger at second for the third out, the Bruins’ Tyler Hamada made it home to leave the score 4-0.
Carvey came to bat in the bottom of the third, hitting his first double with a fly to center field. Anderson followed him, bunting toward third for a single, and Carvey used the play to cut a line for home, scoring the first Logger run of the game.
Despite the promise from a run two plays into the inning, Libby was unable to continue the momentum.
Yet, they were able to hold the Bruins in the fourth. No Walla Walla runner made it past second base, as Gollahan fielded another bunt from the mound to Svendsbye, then Auge sent Svendsbye the ball from center field on a fielder’s choice.
A fly out to Roesler-Begalke in right field ended the half inning, still 4-1 Bruins.
But when the Bruins’ Matt Mckenzie replaced Dylan Ashbeck on the hill, the Loggers didn’t fare any better, with every batter who faced him striking out.
Again in the fifth, the Loggers held the Bruins in the top of the inning. Roesler-Begalke grabbed a fly out in right field, followed by Anderson at catcher snatching a pop foul ball for the second out, and Carvey catching a pop fly at shortstop to end the half inning.
Walker scored a run in the bottom of the inning on a dead ball after a balk from McKenzie on the mound, bringing the score to 4-2, Walla Walla.
But the Bruins pushed out again with a run in the sixth, when Holtzinger scored on a sacrificial fly by Heston to Roesler-Begalke in right field, making it 5-2, Bruins. At shortstop, Carvey fielded a grounder to Trey Thompson at first for the next out, and Gollahon fielded another from the mound to bring the Loggers to bat.
With another Bruins pitching switch, Walla Walla’s Joe Terry let one on base after walking McCully, but a strike out and two pop outs ended the inning with no Logger runs.
In the top of the seventh, McCully came from third to grab a bunt for the first out, but as the play ended, an error opened the door for the Bruins’ Tiner to score, making it 6-2, Walla Walla.
Morford felt with a little better fielding, the team could have held off the final two Walla Walla runs, he said. “Both their fifth and sixth run were just from mental mistakes and not really being in the ball game, and that came back to hurt us.”
Walla Walla swapped pitchers for the final half inning, sending in Casey Swanson, who began the inning with a walk for Walker.
Carvey followed with his second double of the night off a fly to right field, and with no outs on the board, Anderson came to the plate with a man on second and third. Anderson had a fly out to right field, and Walker took the opportunity to make the score 6-3.
On a fly out to left field from Gollahon, Carvey followed, narrowly avoiding the tag out at home with a dropped ball.
Despite the runs, the outs caught up to the Loggers before they could rally past the Bruins, and the game ended in a 6-4 Bruins win.
“Those guys are well coached. They’re organized, they’re in the game, they’re aggressive, and they took advantage of us in a a few situations because of that,” Morford said of the Walla Walla team. “But that’s the stuff we can learn, and we need to play more like that, so hopefully we learn something out of it.”
Wednesday, June 20
Walla Walla 6, Libby 4
W 022 001 1 - R:6 H:6 E:1
L 001 010 2 - R:4 H:4 E:5
W: Kyler Tiner 2-1, 2R; Seth Ahrens 4-0, 1R; Tyler Hamada 2-1; Luke Jordan 2-1; Anthony Parish 3-0, 1R, 1BB, 1K; Bobby Holtzinger 4-2, 1R; Richmond Heston 1-0, 1R; Kaleb Pearson 3-0; Caden McCaw 3-1; Hunter Polley. 2-0, 1K; Nate Treadway 1-0
L: Tim Carvey 4-3, 2R; Moxley Roesler-Begalke 3-0, 1BB; Quade Anderson 2-1, 1BB, 1K; Garrett Gollahon 2-0, 1BB; Austin McCully 2-0, 1BB, 2K; Trey Thompson 3-0, 1K; Cole Murphy 2-0, 2K; David Salgado 1-0, 1K; Chris Auge 1-0, 1BB; Shayne Walker 2-0, 2R, 1BB; Alex Svendsbye 3-0, 1K;
Batting: 2B - Hamada, Holtzinger 2; Carvey 2; TB - Tiner, Hamada 2, Holtzinger 4, McCaw, Jordan; Anderson, Carvey 5; ROE - Ahrens, Heston, McCaw; RBI - Holtzinger, Heston, Pearson, McCaw; Anderson 2, Gollahon
Pitching: W - Dylan Ashbeck 3, 39 P, .682 S%, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 SO, 3 BB; Matt Mckenzie 2, 34 P, .676 S%, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 5 SO, 1 BB; Joe Terry 1, 16 P, .562 S%, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 SO, 1 BB; Casey Swanson, 1, 21 P, .571 S%, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 SO, 1 BB; L - Gollahon 6.1, 71 P, .676 S%, 6 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 SO, 1 BB; Roesler-Begalke, 0.2, 5 P, .600 S%, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 SO, 0 BB