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Loggers secure win against North Idaho, but struggle in Big Bucks Tourney

by WILL LANGHORNE
The Western News | June 29, 2021 7:00 AM

While the Loggers struggled to put the barrel to the ball for most of the Big Bucks Tournament last week, they capped the midsummer slugfest with an 8-4 victory over the North Idaho Lakers.

Following the June 27 win, pitcher Caleb Moeller noted that the 8-18 Loggers had only generated few hits during Libby’s first three games of the tournament.

“This game we went out and put up a lot of hits,” said Moeller. “We were rolling.”

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Trevor Brackett fouls off on the 0-0 pitch from Caleb Moeller for strike one top of second inning of this weekend's matchup between the Libby Loggers and North Idaho Lakers. (Paul Sievers/The Western News)

In the top of the first inning, the Lakers generated a two run lead. The Loggers responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first, courtesy of Aydan Williamson and Rusty Gillespie.

With two outs on the board, Williamson landed an RBI double bringing home Caden Williams. Gillespie then stepped up to the plate and slugged the ball deep into right field. Williamson made it home when North Idaho’s outfielder dropped the ball.

The Loggers forged ahead in the second inning when Tripp Zhang sent Cy Williams home on an RBI single. Another RBI single from Tucker Masters brought the score to 4-2 for the Loggers.

Throughout the June 27 game, the Logger defense generated few errors and featured a strong showing on the mound from B-team players. Moeller, who pitched six innings for the Loggers, racked up 19 first-pitch strikes, four strikeouts and had a WHIP of 1.67. David Bailey, another B-team player, held down the mound for one inning, notched at least one strikeout for the Loggers and had a WHIP of 1.00.

Developing pitchers has plagued the Loggers for the first half of this year. With the B-team season winding down, though, Coach Kelly Morford said Libby will be able to more consistently draw on players including Moeller and Bailey.

“We’re going to be able to get more innings from those guys,” said Morford. “And they’re going to be a big part of what we're doing going forward because they can throw strikes and they can throw multiple pitches.”

In the bottom of the third inning, Williamson brought the score to 5-2 when he stole home on an error by North Idaho’s catcher.

Zhang racked up another RBI single in the fourth inning. An RBI base hit from Williams brought Zhang home a couple at-bats later.

The Lakers fired back in the top of the fifth inning with a two RBI double but were unable to keep the momentum going. During the bottom of the sixth inning, Williams made it home on an error bringing up the final score.

The Loggers opened their bid for the eight-team tournament on June 24 with a 9-1 loss to the Moscow Blue Devils. The following day, Libby fell 16-3 to the Bitterroot Bucs. The Claremont Cardinals secured a 12-1 win against the Loggers on June 26.

Throughout the tournament, Morford said Libby’s bats were challenged by high quality pitching from their opponents.

“We just really needed to make sure we were staying in the strike zone,” he said. “Hitting’s tough and it’s really tough when you’re not doing that.”

Moscow won the championship match 7-5 against Mission Valley. A seventh-inning grand slam secured the game for the Blue Devils.

The Loggers are scheduled to play the Clark Fork Riverdogs at home on July 1.