BOULDER — With pitching staffs scarecrow thin after five straight days of baseball, the late rounds of the Boulder National Invitational Tournament came down to which team’s cupboard was the least bare.
Unfortunately for the Longmont Twins, Moline (Ill.) Post 246 still had a guy capable of throwing deep into a game, and Cooper SantAmour did. He went the distance, in fact, as Moline ousted the Twins 7-2 in the semifinals at Scott Carpenter Park on Sunday.
“They were going to ride him the whole way,” Twins coach Colt Sedbrook said. “Our guys didn’t prove enough to their coaching staff to get a guy warmed up. They got a guy warm in the final inning just because you never know, but he did a good job of mixing it up and going after guys.”
SantAmour wasn’t overpowering, as the Twins reached him for eight hits and struck out only three times. But the right-hander didn’t walk a batter and never faced more than five hitters in a single inning.
“It wasn’t that he was that good, we just didn’t execute,” Twins second baseman Julian Moroyoqui said. “We had a lot of errors, we gave up a lot of free bases and they just took advantage of it.”
While SantAmour turned in a solid start, it was center fielder Eric Ashcraft who provided the offense. The University of Illinois outfielder is still young enough to play Legion ball, and he went 3-for-3 with four RBI, finishing a single short of the cycle.
He crushed Longmont reliever Joey Stauss’ first pitch for a homer in the fifth and was named the tournament MVP later in the day after Moline beat Fairview in the title game.
“I was seeing it well,” Ashcraft said. “The previous day I wasn’t doing too well, so it was nice.”
The Twins can take solace in reaching the semifinals, but Sedbrook warned against the Twins being too pleased with themselves.
“When you take a look at it, if you set your goals high, you should be in those top four,” Sedbrook said. “Great overall as a weekend, but we didn’t start too well today. We were kicking the ball around in the infield, kicking the ball around in the outfield, that type of thing.”
Twins starter Brandon Moore pitched into the fifth but was victimized by a few bouts of shoddy defense.
Longmont tied it 1-1 in the bottom of the first when Greg Reynolds went to third on a Reilly Mau single then scored when the ball was misplayed in the outfield. The Twins didn’t score again until the sixth, when Mau came home on a wild pitch to make it 6-2.
“We’re playing better than we have in the past, but we’ll have to keep getting better,” Moroyoqui said.
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Moline Post 246 7, Longmont Twins 2
At Scott Carpenter Park
Moline 103 020 1 — 7 6 1
Longmont Twins 100 001 0 — 2 8 4
W — SantAmour. L — Moore.
Moline hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Brill 4-1-0-0, Alonso 3-3-1-0, Ashcraft 3-3-3-4, R. O’Keefe 3-0-1-0, Owens 3-0-0-0, Tracey 4-0-0-0, Wages 1-0-0-0, Mosley 1-0-0-0, Eklof 2-0-0-0, K. O’Keefe 3-0-1-0. Totals 27-7-6-4. 2B — Ashcraft. 3B — Ashcraft. HR — Ashcraft (one on in 5th). SB — Ashcraft, R. O’Keefe.
Longmont Twins (ab-r-h-rbi) — Kramer 4-0-2-0, Reynolds 3-1-1-0, Balman 4-0-0-0, Mau 3-1-2-0, Stauss 3-0-0-0, Moroyoqui 3-0-1-0, Spurgin 3-0-2-0, Grinde 3-0-0-0, Reigle 3-0-0-0. Totals 29-2-8-0. 2B — Moroyoqui. SB — Kramer, Mau.
Moline pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — SantAmour 7-8-2-1-0-3.
Longmont Twins pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Moore 4.1-5-5-2-3-2, Stauss 1.2-3-1-1-1-0, Moroyoqui 1-0-1-0-2-1.