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With the American Legion Juniors Area 5 Tournament beginning Friday and the Seniors Area Tournament just another week out, the Albion Cornerstone Legion baseball teams continued to hone their games with busy schedules this past week.
The Albion Seniors posted the lone Cornerstone win of the week, bouncing back from a pair of earlier losses to top Crete 4-1 Sunday behind a strong pitching performance by Travis Kennedy.
Kennedy gave up only a fourth-inning run when Crete’s Jordan Ostrander followed a walk and Alex McGinnis single with an RBI double. Kennedy set the hosts down in order in four of the remaining six innings and received some key defensive help in the seventh when Albion centerfielder Zac Glidden threw out Spencer Stenhoff at third base after the Crete batter led off the inning with a double.
The Seniors had a more difficult time earlier in the week, dropping decisions to P-W-G (Palmer-Wolbach-Greeley) and Norfolk at Leon Nelson Memorial Field in Albion.
Kennedy was not as sharp in his outing against P-W-G Tuesday, June 30, allowing six runs in the first four innings as the visitors took a 6-1 lead.
Kennedy scored after drawing the first of four straight walks in the bottom of the fourth and Albion closed within 8-5 with three in the fifth, but P-W-G added three additional runs off Albion relievers in the sixth and got a strong finish on the mound by Kordell Glause in relief.
The fickle nature of baseball was on full display Thursday when Norfolk came to town. Just one week after twirling a two-hit shutout, Albion pitcher Jackson Meyer was able to record just one first-inning out while surrending 10 runs against Norfolk.
Colton Pelster came on in relief for Cornerstone and shut the visitors down over the next 4 2/3 innings, twice stranding runners at third base. Albion could not solve Norfolk pitcher Bryce Sorensen, however, collecting just three singles in a 10-0, 5-inning loss.
The Albion Cornerstone Juniors also had a tough week, dropping three straight decisions.
P-W-G used an eight-run fifth inning to spark an 11-3 victory June 30. Already leading 3-0, the visitors used a pair of batters hit-by-pitch and three Albion errors to drive the outburst.
Cornerstone tallied its only runs in the bottom of the fifth as Paul and Zach Diessner delivered RBI base hits.
Norfolk used a flurry of runs in the fourth through sixth innings, then held off a final Cornerstone rally attempt in the seventh to record a 7-5 victory Thursday.
Albion opened scoring in the second as Matt Schmitz drove in Derek Stuhr with a single and Jessie Sullivan raced home on a wild pitch. The visitors used three singles, a pair of walks and an error to score three runs against Albion pitchers Cody Nelson and Noah Valasek in the fourth, then added two in the fifth to lead 5-2.
Cornerstone pulled within 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth as Stuhr drove in Nelson with a fielder’s choice and Dylan Gentrup singled, stole second and went home on a sac fly.
Norfolk came right back with back-to-back RBI doubles in the sixth, then held on by snuffing out an Albion comeback in the seventh. Gentrup singled and scored for Cornerstone in that seventh frame and the hosts had runners at first and third before Norfolk reliever Corson Dominisse coaxed two final groundouts.
Cornerstone also came up short in a 7-3 loss at Crete Sunday.
The hosts turned a 2-0 lead into 7-0 with five runs in the fourth off Valasek, capitalizing on three Albion errors in the inning.
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