Sierra Vista tees off on Moline fireballer

SPOKANE, Wash. — One day after putting on a record-tying offensive performance, the American Legion baseball team from Moline, Ill., found out how the other half lives, courtesy of the Sierra Vista Lions.

The Lions handed Moline ace Dakota Bacus his first loss of the year by pounding him for 11 runs and 12 hits in a 12-2 romp at the American Legion World Series. The second-round game was called after seven innings because of the 10-run rule.

Moline (42-8) trailed 7-0 before scoring its runs in the fifth inning.

“I saw them yesterday, and I didn’t think they were that good,” Bacus said.

Bacus’ opinion might have been tainted by the fact that Moline tied a World Series record with 22 hits in a 15-7 rout of Branford, Conn. Sierra Vista rallied to beat Kernersville, N.C., 6-5.

Bacus (9-1) was quick to add that his opinion of the Lions (48-15) changed after seeing them up close and personal.

“I didn’t have my ‘A’ game, and they had theirs,” he said.

Bacus, a big right-hander with a fastball that touched 90 mph, worked extremely fast and relied heavily on his fastball early.

“He was trying to overpower us, and it didn’t happen,” Sierra Vista designated hitter Julian Cutolo said.

Cutolo made certain it didn’t happen by going 3-for-5 with a triple, a double and five RBIs. Cutolo chased Bacus when he belted a two-run triple with none out in the seventh.

The husky Cutolo was huffin’ and a puffin’ the last 90 feet.

“Speed is definitely not his strong suit,” Lions coach Levi Gill said with a smile. “Putting the ball in play is his strong suit, and he did an excellent job of that today.”

Star shortstop Jake Hager went 3-for-4 with three runs for the Lions on a warm night at Avista Stadium. Dusty Stevens struggled with his control — only 53 of his 97 pitches in six innings were strikes — but he improved to 9-3 with plenty of help from his defense.

The Lions turned three double plays and made some highlight-reel plays before an estimated 350 spectators. The best of the defensive gems might have been center fielder Blair Goldsack’s long run and catch before crashing into the wall at the end of the first inning.

Sierra Vista plays in the quarterfinals at 8 p.m. Sunday versus the winner of Saturday’s late game between Midwest City, Okla., and Eden Prairie, Minn.

Sierra Vista 12, Moline (Ill.) 2
Sierra Vista    320    021    4    –    12    13    0
Moline              000    020    0    –      2      9     2
Stevens, Roehl (7) and Tomassetti; Bacus, Kiel (7), Hendricks (7) and Jasper. W–Stevens. L–Bacus. 2B–SV: Cutolo; Mol: Lindauer. 3B–SV: B. Klein, Cutolo.
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