AUBURN — Number-nine hitters with Tyler Blanchard’s resume are easy to find in American Legion baseball. Blessed with blazing speed, they can create a lot of havoc if they put the ball in play.

Of course, with most No. 9 hitters, that’s usually a big ‘if.’ But it wasn’t for Rogers Post 153 on Tuesday

Blanchard’s impact in Rogers’ 11-1 win over Tri-Town went beyond his speed, although that played a part, too. The shortstop went 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and made some key plays in the field.

“I’ve been working pretty hard,” Blanchard said. “Coach tells me to put the ball on the ground and not many people are going to throw me out.

Rogers pitchers Lew Jensen and Brandon Knapp teamed up to one-hit Tri-Town in a game that was shortened to six innings by the 10-run mercy rule and also featured some short tempers on a hot evening at Pettengill Park.

“Llewellyn did a very nice job,” Rogers coach Troy Crane said. “We kept his (pitch) numbers down, which was a decision we had made. He was starting to leave the ball up. It’s hot, so I had no problems with the quick pull.”


Jensen allowed Tri-Town’s only hit, a second-inning single by Billy Roscoe, and its only run, which Billy Bickford scored on a wild pitch in the same inning. He walked five, hit two batters and struck out six in 4 1/3 innings.

Knapp worked the final 1 2/3, allowing only a walk while striking out one.

Seven Rogers runners crossed the plate in the first inning despite just two hits. The first three of seven Tri-Town errors for the game augmented a leadoff single by Brandon Varney and Blanchard’s one-out, two-run double that made it 7-0.

“I was just trying to do something with all those guys on base,” Blanchard said.

“Brandon did a nice job tonight,” Crane said. “If we don’t work some of these younger guys in, as kids age out, you’ve got a bunch of holes. The more you can get the younger guys playing… There’s so much other stuff for these kids to be doing in the summertime, you’ve got to challenge them. If you challenge them, they’ll step up.”

Ian MacFawn relieved starter Kaleb Bridgham after Blanchard’s double and didn’t allow a hit over the next 2 2/3 innings, although Rogers (4-4) did add a run on a pair of walks and wild pitch in the second. Brandon Hubbard replaced him in the fifth and kept the score at 8-1 until Rogers ended the game with four in the sixth.


“Both Ian MacFawn and Brandon Hubbard did a good job,” Tri-Town coach Hal Bridgham said. “We had a rough first two innings, but the other kids did what they could. We were missing four starters today, so it makes a big difference.”

Tri-Town (5-3) had several chances to cut into the deficit against Jensen, but Rogers, which didn’t commit an error, bailed itself out with a couple of double plays turned by Blanchard in the middle of the diamond.

“Coach has given me a chance and I just did what I could,” said Blanchard, normally a center fielder who was playing shortstop for the second time this season.

Tempers flared in the top of the sixth as catcher Shawn Murphy and then Bridgham were ejected in an incident that started with Murphy arguing balls and strikes.

“I think everyone’s doing the best they can. That’s what baseball’s all about,” Bridgham said. “There was a lot of frustration today. We didn’t play very well. I want to take responsibility that our club didn’t play very well. We made a lot of mistakes, a lot of mental mistakes. When you do those things, sometimes frustrations grow and bad things happen.”

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