ALTON - The Alton Post 126 Junior American Legion baseball team made its debut at their home field, Lloyd Hopkins Field at Gordon Moore Park, and played very well, coming back from 5-0 down to tie the game. But Manchester, Mo., came up with two runs in the top of the seventh inning to defeat the Junior Legionnaires 7-5 on Monday evening.

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It was Alton's first home game of the season after being on the road for much of the first month of their abbreviated 2020 campaign, and Alton, a young team that's been improving with every game, played very well once again.

"We were down, and we came back and tied it up," said Alton manager Doug Booten. "But they came up with the two runs to win it. Hats off to Manchester; their pitcher was the best one that we've seen all year, but a good effort."

Even when trailing, the Junior Legionnaires kept battling to get back into the game, and never gave up, much to their credit.

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"They did," Booten said. "Like I said, it was a good effort, we just came up a little short."

Manchester scored single runs in the first and third innings, then came up with three runs in the fourth to take their 5-0 lead. Alton countered with three runs in the bottom of the inning, then scored twice in the home half of the sixth to tie the game in a dramatic fashion. But Manchester scores twice in the top of the seventh to take the win.

Alton collected seven hits on the evening, with Caden Laslie, Graham McAfoos, Tyler Robinson, Luke Parmentier, Ashton Schepers, Nick Rayfield and Andrew Wieneke getting the hits. Wieneke drove home a pair of runs on the night, while Nick Kelsay and Schepers also had RBIs for Alton.

James Stendeback started on the mound for the Junior Legionnaires, giving up two hits and two runs, both earned, while walking walking four and striking out one in three innings of work. McAfoos came on in the fourth, and allowed three hits and five runs, four earned, while walking three and fanning six in three-and-one-third innings. Robinson pitched the last two-thirds, giving up a hit and walking one while striking out one.

The Junior Legionnaires get back into action next Tuesday, July 7. when they meet District 22 rival Highland at Lloyd Hopkins Field. The first game is set for 6 p.m. Booten is looking forward to going up against a district rival.

"We move on, and look forward to playing Highland," Booten said. "It will be fun."

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