Saturdays’ double header at Lee Gehring Memorial Field saw both exhilaration and disappointment as the Libby Loggers first won 4-3, then lost 16-0 against the Bitterroot Buccaneers.
“They’re always a good team, so, to get a split, we have to be happy with that,” said Libby Manager Kelly Morford.
The first game was a close competition, with few of the errors that have plagued the Loggers in what is now a 2-9 season.
With the score tied 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh and the bases loaded from walks and two outs on the board, Trey Thompson hit a sacrificial fly to right field, sending Quade Anderson home for the winning run.
It was a good ending for Anderson, who had pitched seven strong innings against the Bucs with seven strikeouts against the four walks and five runs he allowed. And the Loggers seemed to kick their late-inning curse, only scoring in the final innings where games have often turned against them in the past.
“Quade threw a great game. He kind of carried us through,” Morford said. “We only had one hit in that game, which was kind of an iffy hit, and we were still able to win that ballgame. That was mostly just because Quade threw strikes and kept them off balance.”
But with Bitterroot out-hitting Libby five to one, keeping the Bucs’ bats at bay was a team effort on the defense.
Bitterroot had an early lead in the first, gaining a single run despite a fly out to centerfield caught by right fielder Moxley Roesler-Begalke and a grounder to Tim Carvey at shortstop that ended the half inning with a tag out at second.
In the second, both teams kept it tight defensively, with the only bases taken from walks, and no one advancing beyond first, and Libby’s third baseman Austin McCully ending the inning by snatching a fly in foul territory.
The Buccaneers pushed through in the third inning after a double on a fly to center field by Brendan Schneiter sent in Colby Kohlman to make the score 2-0, Bitterroot.
But on top of a strikeout from Anderson, Logger second baseman Jeff Offenbecher backed the outfield to narrowly avoid an error that could have sent Schneiter to third, and ended the half inning with quick reflexes on a line out.
There was some confusion and disappointment for the Libby fans in the bottom of the third. With Anderson and Offenbecher on first and third, Garrett Gollahon knocked one out of the park, and it was called a foul by inches.
With two strikeouts in the third for Anderson and another seemless handling of a grounder by Carvey at shortstop, the Loggers denied Bitterroot any hits in the fourth. But only Thompson was able to make it onto base in the bottom of the inning, taking advantage of a dropped third strike.
The Loggers kept the fifth inning short as well, with another ground out to Offenbecher and a strikeout from Anderson. But the Bucs’ Liam Lecoure was able to get an RBI on a single that sent Marcus Zeiler home before center fielder Chris Auge ended the half inning catching a fly ball.
It was in the bottom of the same inning that the Loggers began to gain ground against the 3-0 Bitterroot lead. With two outs on the board, Anderson hit a ground ball to second, but a botched throw to first allowed him to reach second, and gave Offenbecher a clear path home.
Anderson kept the Bucs back in the sixth with two strikeouts and the help of a fly out to Roesler-Begalke in right field.
In the bottom of the inning, the Loggers carried on with their comeback.
Thompson lead it off with a grounder to Bucs pitcher Brenden Bailey, making second base on an error, and sending Roesler-Begalke home. Ayden Williamson followed with a ground out to third, giving Austin McCully a straight shot to home to tie the game 3-3.
In the seventh, the Logger defense held, with Offenbecher at second and Carvey at shortstop fielding a ground out each and a quick reaction from Gollahon at catcher giving the tag out to Offenbecher on an attempted steal at second by Bitterroot’s Zeiler.
With Thompson’s sacrificial fly in the bottom of the inning with two outs on the board, the Loggers were in jubilation for their second win of the season so far.
Despite that win, the Loggers looked shaken early in the second game.
“We left a few balls up over the plate, and they hit them and hit them well, and I think it just got us on our heels a little bit and we were unable to recover,” Morford said.
Carvey had enjoyed a night at shortstop free of errors and accounting for out after out with nearly flawless fielding. But as the Buccaneer bats found their stride, Carvey had four hits and two runs against him after only five pitches.
Though Carvey has shown himself to be one of the stronger pitchers for Libby, he never managed to recover after that first inning, and his frustration was visible in the third when he swapped out into center field as Offenbecher took the hill.
Still, no sooner was Carvey in the outfield than he was fielding a line drive to Gollahon at third base to tag out Bitterroots’ Jake Scully.
But the game also shed some light on the slowly developing depth for the Loggers on the mound. Offenbecher and Roesler-Begalke got some time pitching, and stemmed the Bucs advance in the later innings.
“Moxley’s actually been playing pretty well. He played well at third base the other day in a game, and playing some good outfield,” Morford said. “Best of all, he’s looking pretty good on the mound, and we’re going to need him, ‘cause we don’t have a whole lot of depth there.”
Going into a long week with seven games scheduled between Monday and Saturday, Morford said the team is going to really have to test their pitching depth.
“Our schedule up until now has allowed us to not have to go very deep, but it’s gonna be good for us to get down there and see what some of these other guys have,” he said.
Saturday, June 16
Libby 4, Bitterroot 3
B 101 010 0 - R:3 H:5 E:3
L 000 012 1 - R:4 H:1 E:1
L: Tim Carvey 3-0, 1BB, 1K; Jeff Offenbecher 2-0, 1R, 2BB, 2K; Quade Anderson 1-0, 1R, 3BB; Garrett Gollahon 4-0, 1K; Austin McCully 2-0, 1R, 1BB, 1K; Trey Thompson 3-0, 2K; Cole Murphy 3-0, 3K; Moxley Roesler-Begalke 2-1, 1R, 2BB, 1K; Chris Auge 3-0, 2K; Ayden Williamson 1-0
B: Marcus Zeiler 3-1, 1R, 1K; Brenden Bailey 3-0, 1R, 1BB, 1K; Colby Kohlman 2-0, 1R, 2BB, 1K; Liam Lecoure 3-1; Brendan Schneiter 3-2; Blake Hinsdale 3-1; Jake Scully 3-0, 1K; Johnny Lineback 2-0, 1BB, 1K; Alex Gavlak 2-0, 2K
Batting: 2B - Schneiter; TB - Roesler-Begalke; Zeiler, Lecoure, Schneiter 3, Hinsdale; ROE - Anderson, Thompson; RBI - Anderson, Thompson, Williamson; Lecoure, Schneiter 2
Pitching: W - Anderson 7, 91 P, .604 S%, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 7 SO, 4 BB; L - Liam Lecoure 5, 101 P, .584 S%, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 10 SO, 5 BB; Brenden Bailey 1.2, 55 P, .491 S%, 1 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 SO, 4 BB
Bitterroot 16, Libby 0
B 617 20 - R:16 H:15 E:0
L 000 00 - R:0 H:1 E:4
B: Marcus Zeiler 2-2, 4R, 1BB; Colby Kohlman 5-3, 3R; Brendan Schneiter 3-2, 2R, 1BB; Liam Lecoure 4-3, 2R; Jake Scully 3-2, 1R; Blake Hinsdale 4-1, 1R, 1K; Johnny Lineback 2-1, 2R, 1BB, 1K; Zack Christopherson 4-1, 1R, 1K; Alex Gavlak 3-0, 1BB, 2K
L: Quade Anderson 1-0, 1BB; Garrett Gollahon 2-0, 1K; Alex Svendsbye 1-0, 1BB; Trey Thompson 1-0, 1K; Joe Reynolds 1-0, 1K; David Salgado 1-1
Batting: 2B - Zeiler, Kohlman 2, Lecoure, Schneiter; HR - Kohlman; TB - Zeiler 3, Kohlman 8, Lecoure 4, Schneiter 3, Hinsdale, Scully 2, Lineback, Christopherson; Salgado; ROE - Lecoure; RBI - Kohlman 5, Lecoure 2, Schneiter, Scully 2, Lineback, Christopherson
Pitching: W - Marcus Zeiler 4.2, 50 P, .620 S%, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 SO, 2 BB; Blake Hinsdale 0.1, 1 P, 1.000 S%, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 SO, 0 BB; L - Tim Carvey 2.1, 67 P, .507 S%, 9 H, 14 R, 13 ER, 2 SO, 3 BB; Jeff Offenbecher 1.2, 29 P, .586 S%, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 SO, 0 BB, 1 HR; Moxley Roesler-Begalke 1, 22 P, .500 S%, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 SO, 1 BB