If Thursday night was a pitching audition, then Tomah’s pitching staff appears ready for prime time.
Four different pitchers took the mound without giving up an earned run to lead the Tomah American Legion Post 201 Juniors squad to a 7-2 victory over Westby at Dennis Senz Field.
It was the opening Legion game for most of the players, many of whom will be switching back and forth among the three teams the Tomah program will field this season. This weekend, Tomah will divide players among tournaments in Nekoosa (17-and-under) and Viroqua (16-and-under), and coach Jay Larsen used Thursday’s contest to take an extended look at his pitching staff.
“We’re just trying to get ready for tournaments this weekend,” Larsen said. “A lot of them didn’t get a chance to pitch in spring ball, and we’re just trying to shake the rust off their arms.”
The results were encouraging. The first three pitchers − Jairon Pierce, Austin Arttus and Dakota Riedesel − hurled shutout ball through six innings. In the seventh, Tyler Torkelson was dinged for a pair of unearned runs before he ended the game with a strikeout.
Westby loaded the bases with one out in the first inning but failed to score and left a pair of runners stranded in the second.
Tomah did almost all its damage in the bottom of the second. Arttus led off with a walk and stole second and scored on a two-out single by Colby Von Haden. Brady Fisher and Brett Larsen followed with back-to-back walks, and Riedesel cleared the bases with a long double over the centerfielder’s head.
Torkelson and Jacob Powell re-loaded the bases with back-to-back walks, and Arttus stepped to the plate for the second time in the inning and delivered a two-run single that gave Tomah a 6-0 lead.
Larsen lofted a sacrifice fly in the third, but that was Tomah’s final run. Tomah failed to pad its lead despite getting back-to-back walks in the fifth and loading the bases with two outs in the sixth.
After seven straight road contests, the 16-and-under squad returns to Dennis Senz Field Friday, June 15 for a 5 p.m. doubleheader against Baraboo.
Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at email@example.com.