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The Valley City Post 60 American Legion baseball team tried plenty of different players on the pitcherâ€™s mound in Thursdayâ€™s double header losses to Kindred.
But no matter who was there, the problem was virtually the same â€” the pitchers struggled to find early strikes and later walked batters after falling behind in counts.
â€śLeading with the strike and getting ahead right away is big in baseball,â€ť coach Jason Beilke said. â€śWhen youâ€™re ahead 0-1, itâ€™s a lot easier than being behind 1-0.â€ť
The struggles set the tone for a pair of losses, both by mercy rule. Kindred won the first game 12-2 in five innings, then won the shortened second game 16-3 in three innings.
In both games, Kindred had fewer hits than errors.
Kindred took an early lead in the first game when their second batter reached on a single and scored two batters later on another single.
Kindred then scored four more in the top of the second inning when the leadoff batter eached on a single. The third batter in the inning reached on a walk. Then the fourth batter of the inning reached on an error, which scored the leadoff hitter.
The other two runners were brought in on a three run home run to left center field by Daniel Julson.
Valley City was limited to four hits and score both of its runs in the fourth inning when Josh Magnuson reached base on a walk and scored on a double by Chase Carpenter. Carpenter then scored on a double by Brett Stearns.
Throughout the game, Valley Cityâ€™s hitters were stymied by the pitching of Jake Kvisler, who had eight strikeouts in the five-inning complete game.
â€śWeâ€™ve been hitting the ball well lately, but today their kid threw strikes and he mixed it up well,â€ť Beilke said. â€śThat kept us off balance.â€ť
The pitching issues continued in the second game.
Kindred took a 3-0 lead in the second inning, in which four batters reached without a hit.
Kindred then had a 13-run second inning in which 16 batters reached base, seven by walk, to put the game away.
Beilke said the team has played well lately and wonâ€™t stress on the losses.
â€śItâ€™s only two games, so weâ€™ve got more to come,â€ť he said.