USC offense sputters

Published 9:21 am Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It appears a week away from the game has hurt the once potent bats of the United South Central American Legion baseball team.

The team is filled by most of the same players that helped the Rebels varsity team reach a team batting average of .326, but their timing is off at the plate and it showed again Monday in a 4-3 loss to Minnesota Lake.

“The bats were a little quiet tonight until the sixth inning,” USC coach Pat Frank said. “It’s Legion baseball, you take a couple of weeks off from school, you come back and you’re not going to be in the swing of things right away.”

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The Rebels were not in the swing of things as they only collected five hits in the game.

“I haven’t swung a bat in a week and a half and it definitely felt that way at the plate,” USC shortstop Kevin George said. “It’s amazing how much just a week and a half will change your swing.”

The bats did begin to wipe the sleep from their eyes in the sixth inning when center fielder Darrin Stenzel led off with a home run to left field and two batters later Ned Kalis hit an opposite field blast to left field to pull USC within one at 4-3, but Minnesota Lake held on for the win.

Minnesota Lake took advantage of seven walks issued by Rebels starter Kalis as two of the four runs that scored reached base via a walk.

Aside from the walks Kalis limited Minnesota Lake to four hits and struck out five in the loss.

“Ned did a nice job on the mound tonight,” Frank said.

Kalis was matched by Minnesota Lake starter Isaac Obermeyer who threw seven innings, allowed five hit and struck out eight.

Minnesota Lake third baseman Jacob Malakowsky was a pest for USC all night as he reached base in each of his at-bats, scored three time and stole three bases.

Minnesota Lake scored a run in the first when Malakowsky scored on a throwing error from third and he scored again in the third inning on an RBI single from Obermeyer and he scored the third time in the sixth on an RBI double by Seth Anderson.

It was a close game, but the Rebels know things will pick up sooner than later.

“We’ll start playing better as the weeks go on,” Frank said.

Minnesota Lake 4, USC 3

Minnesota Lake – 101 011 0 – 4 5 1

USC – 010 002 0 – 3 5 2

WP – Isaac Obermeyer 7 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K

LP – Ned Kalis 5 2/3 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 7 BB, 5 K