MANCHESTER, Mo. - A seven-run fourth inning, along with three pitchers combining for six strikeouts in six innings pitches, were the keys as the Alton Post 126 junior American Legion baseball team defeated Manchester, Mo., 9-2 in a game played Thursday night in west St. Louis County.
The Junior Legionnaires spotted Manchester a 2-0 lead before coming up with the seven run fourth, then added one two more int he sixth to take the win, continuing Alton's hot streak, taking its fourth straight win.
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"We played a good game, obviously," said Alton manager Doug Booten. "We're starting to come together now, and playing better baseball. We're looking good."
The win came as a result of the brand of aggressive baseball that Booten loves to play.
"The pitching was pretty good," Booten said, "we hit the ball stole some bases, put pressure on the defense, and scored some runs."
And it was also a big team win for Alton, as everyone got into the act and contributed.
"Last night was kind of a team effort," Booten said. "It's real important. You can't just lean on one or two guys, we have to depend on the whole team."
The Junior Legionnaires got hits from eight different batters --- Caden Laslie, Seth Slayden, Luke Parmentier, Andrew Wieneke, Jon Webb, Nick Rayfield, Nick Kelsay and Connor McCarthy --- with Wieneke driving home a pair of runs, and Laslie, Parmentier and Rayfield each having an RBI.
The speed of the team showed as well, as Alton went 10-for-12 in stolen bases, with Seth Johnson and Slayden each having a couple of steals. Alton also stranded five runners, but took advantage of six Manchester errors to score the runs.
Graham McAfoos started on the mound for Alton, and pitched three innings, allowing the only two runs Manchester would score on two hits, walking two and fanning two more, while Wieneke struck out two in his only inning of work, and James Stendeback threw the final two innings, walking one and striking out two to preserve the win while giving up a hit in preserving the win.
Booten feels that the team is coming around very nicely, and its speed is something that Alton has utilized to its advantage.
"They really have," Booten said. "One thing about this team is we've got some speed, so we're taking advantage of it running the bases."
After playing a doubleheader at St. Peters, Mo., on Friday night, the Junior Legionnaires are next set to play in their first home game at Lloyd Hopkins Field in Gordon Moore Park against Manchester as part of a junior-senior doubleheader, with the start time of 6 p.m, then host Highland in a doubleheader on July 7, with the first game also starting at 6 p.m.
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