The Libby Loggers claimed two nearly flawless wins against the Kalispell Lakers ‘A’ team Thursday, winning their doubleheader 6-4 and 8-5.
Only 10 days previous, the Loggers fell to the Lakers in a doubleheader at Kalispell, 9-2 and 2-1, games that, even as losses, were noticeable improvements for Libby.
Thursday’s doubleheader stands out in a troubled season as a potential turning point. Even though Kalispell played well, the Loggers played better, showing they could go toe-to-toe with a team that had easily dominated them earlier in the season.
“It was an earned win, and definitely something we needed for our morale,” said Manager Kelly Morford. “And the kids deserve it, ‘cause they’ve hung in there all season and have been gettin’ better.”
Game after game, the Loggers have pulled off plays that showed they have the skills to win, only to watch victory fall from their grasp with defensive errors.
Yet, the team has not had anyone quit, and the Loggers have hung together as they struggled to improve their game, Morford said.
On Thursday, the Loggers functioned like a well-oiled machine.
“Walks got us in trouble a little bit at different times, but what we didn’t do is make the errors defensively like we have been,” Morford said. “We’ve been capable of doing that all year long. We just haven’t done it consistently. It was good to see us be able to be better defensively today.
Game one stayed low-scoring early, with two ground outs and a fly out bringing Libby to bat in the first inning.
With two out in the bottom of the inning, Shayne Walker came to bat for Libby, hitting the second pitch over the left field fences for a homerun, giving the Loggers a 1-0 lead they would hold until the fourth inning.
Through the second and third, Kalispell and Libby kept each other stalled offensively.
In the second, Anderson struck out two, building off a fly out to Jeff Offenbecher in center field to deny the Lakers any progress. Moxley Roesler-Begalke made a single off a line drive to center field in the bottom of the inning. Though he made it to third off two sacrifice ground outs, the final out kept him from scoring.
A ground out to Trey Thompson at first started off another hitless inning for Kalispell in the third, as Anderson tallied another strike out and Caden Williams caught a fly in left field to end the half inning. Yet, though Walker made a single on a line drive to right field and Garrett Gollahon followed with a single on a fly to left field, the Lakers’ Reid Barrows struck out Williams with the Loggers in scoring position.
In the fourth, Kalispell moved into the lead with a double off a fly ball to right field by Payton Davisson, sending two runners home. With no Logger hits in the bottom of the inning, the threat of a Laker comeback loomed.
Yet, despite a double for Kalispell in the fifth, Carvey halted the Laker offense at shortstop on a ground out to end the half inning. But the Loggers were unable to make progress in the bottom of the inning, despite Carvey reaching third before the end of the inning.
Kalispell added to their lead, 4-1, in the sixth, after two runs scored against the Logger infield and the only Libby fielding error of the game.
Earlier in the season, that may have been the end for Libby. But in the bottom of the sixth, Thompson singled off a line drive to left field, sending Gollahon home and Williams to third.
Williams took advantage of a wild pitch on the next play, and after Thompson scored off a ground ball from Walker, the Loggers were tied 4-4 with Kalispell.
When Walker reached first, it was on a Laker error, with two outs in the half inning. On the next play, another Kalispell error at shortstop saw Anderson safe at first with two RBIs as Carvey and Offenbecher brought Libby back into the lead, 6-4.
Though the Lakers got a runner to second in the top of the seventh, Carvey closed the game with a final strikeout.
Libby again took an early lead in the second game, holding off Kalispell in the top of the inning and scoring 4 runs in the bottom.
The Lakers’ Thomas O’Connell had a rough start on the hill, handing out four walks — with two hit by pitch — and giving Carvey his first run. Offenbecher followed Carvey on a wild pitch, bringing the score to 2-0, Loggers.
Williams followed the first out with a two-RBI single off a hard ground ball to center field, bringing in Walker and Anderson to give Libby a 4-0 lead.
In the second, Walker gave one pass, but the Lakers took no hits. Anderson sprinted deep into right field to catch the first out on a fly ball and Offenbecher grabbed a second in center field. A ground out to Carvey at shortstop snapped to Thompson at first to close the half inning.
With two outs in the bottom of the inning, O’Connell gave away another run when he walked Anderson with the bases loaded, sending McCully home. Gollahon followed with a hard ground ball to third, earning a single and an RBI as Offenbecher scored his second run of the game, bringing it to 6-0, Loggers.
In the top of the third, the Lakers pushed back, deflating the Libby cushion. After a single and two walks, the bases were loaded when Kalispell’s Luke Halland sent a hard line drive sailing into center field, taking Kalispell’s first RBI.
Davisson grounded into a fielder’s choice to Logger second baseman Alex Svendsbye, spelling an out for Halland, but scoring the Lakers a second run. Another fielder’s choice to Carvey at shortstop bought the Loggers a second out, but cost them another Laker run, making the score 6-3, Libby.
The Laker rally was cut short when Svendsbye lept to snag a line drive from the air at second base, gaining the final out, but not before Davisson stole home on a strike, shaving the Loggers down to a 6-4 lead.
After reaching first in the bottom of the third on a Kalispell error, Thompson made it to second off a line drive to center field by Carvey, but both were left on base with the final out.
Still, the Loggers held the Lakers in the top of the fourth. Walker gave away a pass, but struck out the next. A fielder’s choice to Roesler-Begalke held the Lakers to a single runner, as Svendsbye at second tagged out Chad Queen, and Walker closed the half inning with a strikeout.
Libby didn’t gain any room over Kalispell in the bottom of the inning, and a strikeout from Nate Kelly ended the fourth with the bases loaded and one hit for the Loggers.
In the top of the fifth, Libby held their defensive wall, and Kelly was the first Laker out after a sacrifice bunt to Walker. Anderson stayed mobile in right field, calling a fly ball in center-right, and Svendsbye snatched a grounder at second to end the half inning.
With Svendsbye on first from a pop fly in the bottom of the fifth, Carvey knocked a fly ball into left field for a double and an RBI. Offenbecher followed with a sacrifice fly to center field, and Carvey tore his way home to give the Loggers an 8-4 lead.
Kalispell pushed as far as second in the top of the sixth as Offenbecher came in to relieve Walker on the mound. But the Logger outfield denied them any hits for the inning, with Williams, Anderson and Chris Auge each catching a fly out.
The Loggers put two runners on base in the bottom of the inning, with Gollahon walked by Kelly and Roesler-Begalke slugging a line drive into right field for a single, yet both were left on base with the third out.
Davisson came out in the seventh with a leadoff home run, scoring the final Laker run of the night.
The Logger infield cut off the Lakers with quick reflexes on a ground out to Roesler-Begalke at third. A snap to Walker tagged out O’Connell at first, then Svendsbye tagged Kelly at second. With a final strikeout from Offenbecher, the Loggers sealed the Lakers’ fate.
What Libby did Thursday was to show what they are capable of, and have been capable of, Morford said.
“We didn’t necessarily make any better plays or more plays defensively, we just made them at the right time,” he said. “We’ve done it all year long, like that double play in the seventh inning — it’s a great play — we’ve done that before, we just have never done it in a tight situation like that.”
Libby vs Kalispell
Thursday, July 12
Libby 6, Kalispell 4
K 000 202 0 - R:4 H:6 E:2
L 100 005 X - R:6 H:7 E:1
L: Tim Carvey 2-0, 1R, 1BB, 1K; Jeff Offenbecher 3-1, 1R, 1BB; Quade Anderson 2-0, 2BB; Garrett Gollahon 2-2, 1R; Moxley Roesler-Begalke 2-1; Shayne Walker 4-2, 1R; Caden Williams 2-0, 1R, 1K;
Trey Thompson 3-1, 1R; Austin McCully 2-0; Ayden Williamson 1-0, 1K
K: Ben Corriveau 3-1, 1R, 1BB; Luke Halland 4-0; Thomas O’Connell 3-1, 1R, 1BB, 1K; Nate Kelly 3-0, 1R, 1BB, 1K; Payton Davisson 2-1, 1R, 1BB, 1K; Ryan McDonald 2-1, 1BB, 1K; Connor Drish 3-0; Chad Queen 3-1, 1K; Grant Marsh 3-1, 1K
Batting: 2B - B Corriveau, Davisson; HR - Walker; TB - Gollahon 2, Offenbecher, Roesler-Begalke, Thompson, Walker 5; B Corriveau 2, O’Connell, Marsh, McDonald, Davisson 2, Queen; ROE - Anderson, Walker; Drish; RBI - Thompson, Walker; McDonald, Davisson
Pitching: W - Anderson 5, 69 P, .623 S%, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 SO, 3 BB; Carvey 2, 44 P, .500 S%, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 SO, 2 BB; L - Reid Barrows 4, 66 P, .576 S%, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 SO, 1 BB, 1 HR; Jack Corriveau, 2.0, 48, .458, 2, 5, 2, 1, 3, 0
Libby 8, Kalispell 5
K 004 000 1 - R:5 H:5 E:1
L 420 020 X - R:8 H:8 E:0
L: Tim Carvey 3-2, 2R, 1BB, 1K; Jeff Offenbecher 2-1, 2R; Quade Anderson 2-1, 1R, 2BB, 1K; Garrett Gollahon 2-1, 1BB, 1K; Caden Williams 4-1; Shayne Walker 2-0, 1R, 1K; Trey Thompson 3-0, 1K; Chris Auge 1-0; Moxley Roesler-Begalke 3-1, 1BB, 1K; Austin McCully 0-0, 1R, 1BB; Alex Svendsbye 3-1, 1R
K: Ben Corriveau 2-1, 1R, 2BB; Luke Halland 4-1, 1K; Payton Davisson 3-1, 2R, 1K; Nate Kelly 2-1, 1BB; Ryan McDonald 1-0, 1BB; Thomas O’Connell 2-0; Connor Drish 4-0, 1K; Chad Queen 2-0, 1BB;
Jack Corriveau 2-1, 1R, 1BB, 1K; Jayden Dillon 2-0, 1R, 1BB
Batting: 2B - Carvey; HR - Davisson; TB - Anderson, Carvey 3, Gollahon, Offenbecher, Roesler-Begalke, Svendsbye, Williams; Corriveau, Halland, Kelly, Davisson 4, Corriveau; ROE - Thompson; RBI - Anderson 2, Carvey, Gollahon, Offenbecher, Williams 2; Halland, McDonald, Davisson 2
Pitching: W - Walker 5.1, 100 P, .490 S%, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 SO, 6 BB; Offenbecher 1.2, 30 P, .533 S%, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 SO, 1 BB, 1 HR; L - O’Connell 2, 61 P, .475 S%, 3 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 SO, 4 BB; Kelly 4, 80 P, .562 S%, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 SO, 2 BB