HANCOCK - The Hancock Post 186 American Legion baseball team dominated Negaunee to the tune of 16-0 and 18-3 victories Monday and the sweep came as a product of what has spurred Hancock on all season:
Their extreme depth.
All 12 available Hancock players collected at least one base hit in the series and all 12 reached base safely in the second game. Hancock totaled 28 hits on the day and saw No. 3 hitter Tyler LaDuron wear out the left field fence with two doubles and a triple, plus a walk and two singles for a six-RBI day.
Hancock third baseman Luke Paul tags out a Negaunee runner at third base Monday in an 18-3 win. Hancock won the first game of the double-header 16-0. (DMG photo by Michael Bleach)
And of course, all of this was done in nine innings worth of at-bats due to mercy rule restrictions.
"We do have a couple of big sticks, as Tyler showed today," manager Nels Paul said. "He is a very strong hitter. But even without Tyler or Luke (Paul) we would have no problem scoring runs. I could probably slot the guys anywhere in the lineup and we would be OK."
And the pitching depth - often a problem in short-roster Legion ball - might be even stronger.
Negaunee 00000 - 0 3 0
Hancock 10284 - 16 13 0
WP: Kris Turunen, 5 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 11 K, 2 BB
LP: Aaron Hodges, 5 IP, 16 R, 2 K, 5 BB
Hancock: Tyler LaDuron, 2-for-3, 3B, 3 RBI; Mike Saari, 2-for-4, 3B, 3 runs.
Negaunee 00300 - 3 4 2
Hancock 2556x - 18 15 1
WP: Zach Hill, 3 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 4 K, 3 BB, 2 HBP
LP: Ryan Tossava, 1 1/3 IP, 7 R, 7 H, 0 K, 1 BB
Hancock: Darren Bausano, 3-for-3, 3B, 2 RBI, 3 runs; Tyler LaDuron, 3-for-4, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 3 runs.
Kris Turunen started the opening game, pitched five shutout innings and struck out 11. Then the combination of starter Zach Hill and Brett Beauchamp limited Negaunee to four hits on the back end with Beauchamp seeing his first action of the season.
"It was good to get him on the mound," Paul said. "He throws hard. He told me he hadn't pitched in two years because of the (car) accident, but he looked good out there. He is a strong kid and we just need to get him some innings. That was the main thing today, just getting him some innings."
With the addition of Beauchamp to the pitching stable, Paul said he can call upon eight different pitchers and have confidence in any of them.
"We really are pretty deep in pitching," Paul said. "Right now it is just a matter of getting everyone some innings. But yeah, I really do feel comfortable with any of those guys on the mound. It is a nice luxury to have."
Darren Bausano went 3-for-3 with a triple in the second game and Beau Dupuis added a three-bagger as well that cleared loaded bases.
With both games well in hand early, Paul was able to move some guys around defensively to help diversify his team.
It also keeps everyone from losing focus in a blowout win.
"They do enjoy that," Paul said. "I try not to get too crazy with it, but I am trying to make sure they are out there having fun - even in a blowout. I just tell them have fun but don't screw around."
The pair of wins moves Hancock to 11-3 in league play, tied for first place with Marquette in the North Division.
"We are playing well," Paul said. "We have won the games we are supposed to win and we have looked alright in the losses too."