Giants host Southwest Tournament

 

You know what it’s like sometimes to play host to out-of-town guests? They invade your space, kinda trash the place, and leave you emotionally and physically drained?

Yeah, that pretty much sums up the Southwest American Legion baseball tournament hosted by the Jackson Giants over the weekend. Cody swiped something before they left, Gallatin Valley made a mess of things, and Evanston was just plain rude on their way home.

Jackson 5, Rock Springs 1

The boys of summer from Post 43 got the weekend off on a promising enough start with a 5-1 win over the Rock Springs Stallions. It was the fourth win in five meetings for Jackson.

It was a decent pitcher’s duel for most of the contest. Jackson’s Aaron Huggins throwing a gem of a game, 1-hitting the Stallions for 5 innings and surrendering just the lone run for the win. Steven Ashurts picked up the save working 2 flawless innings.

Ayden Gralund continued his hot start to the season, feasting on Rock Springs’ pitching. Gralund knocked in 2 of the Giants’ 5 runs. Grant Parkin went 2-3. Huggins and Bridger Hammond also picked up hits in the victory.

Cody 8, Jackson 7

Heartbreaking. There’s no other way to describe the extra-inning loss to the Cubs late on Saturday night. A game delayed by earlier rain did not wrap up until 11:20pm and, judging from the Giants’ late-game languishing, the hometown team was ready to hit the sheets long before the lights went out on their night.

Jackson led the whole way, by as much as 6-2, but you know the old adage about letting a team hang around? The Cubs just refused to go away. Scratching out runs in the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings to eventually tie the game during their last licks.

Kade Foulke worked a respectable 5 innings for the Giants, scattering 5 hits and 4 earned runs. But Foulke labored with command and had to be lifted for a pitch count (96 pitches) that prevented his quest for a complete game or even a win.

Austin VanSkike had the unfortunate lack of luck to get tagged with not only the blown save but the loss even though his line wasn’t all that bad. Two and two-thirds innings, 3 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, and 2 strikeouts.

The Giants wasted another big day from Ayden Gralund at the dish. The Jackson catcher went 2-3 with 3 RBI. Ashurts also added a sweet opposite-field double to plate 2 more G-Men. But it was the Cubs who escaped with the 8-7 win in 8 innings.

Gallatin Valley 19, Jackson 0

The Giants faced two Outlaws on Sunday bloody Sunday and both left the Giants ravaged.

Whether it was the emotional toll taken by the gut-wrenching loss just 10 hours prior, or the stark reality that Gallatin Valley came to Jackson with loaded bats, it was a bumpy ride for the Giants Sunday morning.

The Outlaws posted a 19-0 win over Post 43 to begin the Giants’ Sunday. Xander Witt pitched a gutsy 3 innings to take the loss. In relief, neither Lukas Gralund, Owen Khanna, nor Warren Newton could chill the Outlaws’ bats.

Evanston 20, Jackson 3

It didn’t get much better for Jackson in the nightcap. Evanston started slowly, picked up steam, and ran away with the game with an exclamation point 7-run 6th inning. The ‘other’ Outlaws pounded out 15 hits and the Giants were uncharacteristically sloppy in the field, committing 5 errors.

The result was Grant Parkin was hung out to dry in his starting effort on the bump. The big righthander threw 98 pitches, surrendering 11 runs (6 earned) on 8 hits. He struck out 6 and walked 4 in picking up the loss.

For Evanston, it was the Gus Allred show. Allred picked up the win on the mound, pitching to contact and trusting a solid defense. He also helped himself at the plate, going 5 for 5 with 5 runs batted in.

The Giants are now 4-6 on the season. They head to Rock Springs this weekend for a 4-game tournament where Post 43 will face Rock Springs, Cheyenne Post 6, Evanston, and Green River.

 

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