By Tim Chambers
A “heavenly performance” by the Angels on Saturday kept them tied for first place with the Marlins in major league play. The “Halos” jumped out to a double-digit lead and hung on for a 10-4 win at Cunningham Park.
Coach Brad Reece watched his squad score in almost every inning. He liked what he saw early from them.
“We don’t have the superstars but we’ve got some very good baseball players,” said Reece. They understand the game and know what to do. We came out aggressive and jumped on them early. Give credit to the Dodgers because they are much improved. We had a tough time putting them away. Ethan Icenhour played a great game for them.”
Not only did Reece like the hitting, but he loved the pitching performance by 11-year-old Conner Simcox. The burley right-hander tossed a two-hitter with nine strikeouts and walked only two.
“Connor threw an outstanding game and didn’t walk batters,” added Reece. “He’s tough to hit when he throws like he did today. He set the tone for the game.”
While Simcox had his way on the mound, the Angels did so at the plate, too. They took a 2-0 lead in the second.
Chris Reece walked, then moved to third on a double by Asa Lewis. Both runners scored on another two-bagger by Trey Snyder.
They produced another pair of runs by way of some “small ball” in the third.
Will Courtner had a bunt single and scored. Graham Reece would also cross the dish after two steals and a walk.
The Angels might have broken the game open in the fifth had it not been for a pair of outstanding defensive plays by Dodgers’ shortstop Ethan Icenhour. He robbed them of two base hits when they had runners on, but it wasn’t enough to get them past the league’s co-leader.
Chris Reece laced a single, then scored on Snyder’s second double of the game. Their 5-0 cushion would increase in the following frame.
The Angels managed to pile on three more to go up 8-0.
Graham Reece had a single and scored, as did Courtner who added his second bunt hit. George Grills got in on the act with an RBI double.
The Angels saved their best for last in the sixth.
Snyder connected for a triple and Lewis had an inside-the-park homerun that hit the top of the fence but bounced back in.
The Dodgers showed their savvy by scoring four times in their final at bat after Simcox had exceeded his pitch count with one out.
Payton Pavusek, Icenhour and Nate King had RBI singles but couldn’t get a much needed six pack plus one.
Pavusek ended the game going 2-for-3 to lead the Dodgers. King and Icenhour added a hit each. Ezra Howard had a towering double to centerfield for the final one.
Lewis nearly hit for the cycle, going 3-for-4 with a homerun, double and single which topped the Angels. Snyder almost reached the milestone with a single, double and triple going 3-for-4. Grills and Courtner provided a pair of hits apiece. Graham Reece and Chris Reece went 1-for-2 each.