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Legals even baseball series with Caryville rival Eagle Tire

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By The Staff

 The official schedule lists 10 baseball games for the Dave Dunaway Legals: five games vs. Lake City and five more vs. Eagle Tire, which are considered most important since they officially decide the Caryville Dixie Youth 11-12 championship.

The Legals won the first game against Eagle Tire, 19-5. The two teams split the next two games.

The May 1 contest is now known as the “mud bowl.” Torrential rains left the field in horrid conditions.

So bad was the field that Legals head coach Jim Lane had to order several new uniforms to replace ones that were ruined. Jordan Bruce started that game on the mound for Eagle Tire and Andrew Blake Evans for the Dave Dunaway Legals.

The conditions made gripping the baseball difficult as 16 bases on balls were issued during the game. Evans yielded only two hits, both to his counterpart Bruce who struck out six batters while Evans fanned seven. 

The score volleyed back and forth until Eagle Tire took a 6-5 lead going into the bottom of the last inning. Ethan Jeffers walked and came in to score the tying run. Brandon James was hit by a pitch and Bryson Phillips walked before Evans sliced a single plating James with the winning run, 7-6, for the Legals.

The two teams met again May 14. Eagle Tire gave Tate McGhee the assignment to pitch. Phillips would take the mound for the Legals.

Both pitchers performed outstanding; both accumulated 11 strikeouts and gave up five hits. However, the Legals could only muster singles, with Tyler Loveday leading with two hits.

Eagle Tire collected four extra-base hits off Phillips with doubles by Noah Elorfi, Isaiah Vibbert and McGhee and a triple by Jordan Bruce.

Furthermore, McGhee gave up just two walks to Phillips’ seven. It was sweet satisfaction for Dean Whedbee’s team, as they won 7-2.

On May 21, the teams met for the fourth time. Whedbee went with Vibbert while Lane chose Evans. For the first time the weather was warm and pleasant for the entire game.

Eagle Tire jumped out early, plating two runs in the first and another in the second. The Legals chased Vibbert in the third, scoring five runs to take the lead, highlighted by Phillips’ second double of the game that drove in two runs.

Eagle Tire bounced right back with two more runs in the bottom of the third to tie the score, 5-5. McGhee made easy pickings of the Legals while pitching in relief during the top of the fourth inning. Evans returned the favor with a 13-pitch three up and three down in the bottom of the fourth.

In the top of the fifth, the Legals retook the lead, 8-5, led by Phillips’ third double of the game that again drove in two runs. With the game already past the time limit, Eagle Tire decided it wasn’t time to quit so they chased Evans with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth, highlighted by Jordan Bruce’s second double that knocked in two runs.

Bruce would finish the game 3-for-3, three runs scored, two doubles and four RBI. However, the game came down to clever base running, as shortstop Austin Goodman singled and advanced to third where an errant throw allowed him to score the go-ahead run.

Phillips shut down Eagle Tire, three up and three down, in the bottom of the sixth as the Legals took the win, 9-8, and at least a share of the league championship. Both teams are 2-2 in the league standings.

This makes the third straight year to win a league championship for Legals coach Lane.

McGhee struck out nine batters in his relief appearance, while Vibbert fanned six.

(League musings)—After winning their game vs. Eagle Tire the Legals played the second game of a doubleheader vs. Lake City and won 3-1. Jeffers threw a no-hitter and struck out 11 in his first start…Hot hitters? The Legals’ Phillips is smoldering with nine hits, an .818 average, five doubles and 7 RBI. Bruce, of Eagle Tire, has six hits, a .667 average with seven runs scored, two doubles, a triple, 5 RBI and eight steals in the four games vs. the Legals. In addition, Bruce is the only player this season to hit a home run over the new fence. He had a homer against Lake City….Hot pitchers? Eagle Tire’s McGhee is 1-1 in 13.2 innings pitched, with just seven walks and 33 strikeouts, has thrown 242 pitches (17.6/inning) and has an ERA of 3.51 vs. the Legals… Phillips (Legals) is 3-2 in 14.2 innings, 32 strikeouts, has thrown 287 pitches (19.5/inning), has an ERA of 3.26 and has held hitters to a .151 average… Jeffers is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA… Evans has worked 10.1 innings with 21 strikeouts, has thrown 224 pitches (21.6/inning) and has held hitters to a .205 average.