Jun 15, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorTrey Draper and Rylan Koehn combined on the mound for a 15-7 road victory.
Sometimes in sports, the ball simply just finds you.
On Wednesday evening at City Park in Lander, it was Trey Draper who played the role of baseball magnet, as the Angels pitcher found himself directly in the crosshairs of a cowhide missile not on one, not two, but on three separate occasions during the Angels' 15-7 victory against Lander.
Draper pitched five innings for his club, allowing only five runs to a high-powered Lander offense and in the process was nearly decapitated by a screamer off the bat of Nick Kulow, as he got his glove right up to head level in time to snare the line drive from the powerful left-handed hitter before it could do any damage.
Although his glove might have been bruised, Draper was undaunted by the brush with danger, even holding onto the ball for an out.
However, Draper's close encounters would continue, as he was twice hit by pitches while at the plate, including one which caught the leadoff man in the helmet, with that man, Kulow on the other, albeit opposite end this time, after the lanky Lander first baseman had relieved starter Marcus Richardson to begin the fifth inning.
As far as the game's scoring went, the Angels jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first, as Draper singled, followed by a Cameron Schoening walk, with both coming around to score.
Lander rebounded with a single marker of its own in the bottom of the frame, as Jon Fawson bombed a solo blast off Draper to cut the deficit in half at 2-1.
All that did was rile up the Angels' bats, as the Halos struck for three runs in each of the next two innings, denting the scoreboard with runs in every frame but the seventh, building a commanding lead in the process.
The hosts remained pesky, putting up a pair of runs in each of the third, fourth and sixth innings, but couldn't match the prodigious offensive display put on by the visitors.
Included in the onslaught was an inning that started when Lucas Engle struck out in the top of the fourth after Aquilo Friday had walked.
Lander catcher Jeffrey Sawick let the third strike get past him all the way to the backstop, allowing Engle to reach first safely.
The play was far from over at that point.
Sawick's subsequent throw to first sailed over the head of Kulow, allowing Friday to round the bases and score, while Engle kept trucking around second, then sprinted to third as the bag was left unoccupied during the chaos which had unfolded during the sequence.
Finally, a Lander player retrieved the ball in foul ground midway between third and home. The race was on with Engle still only halfway between second and third.
Both players arrived at the bag from opposite directions like a pair of freight trains on a collision course, with both sliding simultaneously and arriving at exactly the same instant.
When the considerable dust cloud had settled, Engle was safe, and the Angels had increased their lead to 10-3.
Still, Lander refused to give up the fight, as Fawson, who was 3-for-5 on the game, blasted a triple to deep center field in the bottom of the frame, to drive in a pair of runs to make it 10-5.
The Angels added another five runs and were an out away from invoking the 10-run rule before Lander plated a pair in the bottom of the sixth.
However, it was to no avail, as Rylan Koehn took the ball from Draper and pitched the final two innings to close the deal.
Ironically, it was Draper who got his glove in the way of a liner at shortstop to end the game, again proving his ability for the ball finding him at critical points.
Draper also got it done with the bat, as the only Angel to get more than one hit in the game, going 2-for-3 with a pair of hit-by-pitches and three runs scored.
Even if he might have needed an ice bag or two for his efforts on the evening.
Angels 2 3 3 2 4 1 0 -- 15
Lander - 1 0 2 2 0 2 0 -- 7
Angels - T. Draper, 2-3, 2 HBP; Schoening, 2-2, 2 BB; Friday, 1-3; Engle, 0-4; Soule, 1-2, 2 BB; Koehn, 1-5; Gard, 0-4; LeClair, 0-1, 3 BB; D. Draper, 0-3, 2 BB.
Lander - Stephenson, 0-2; Fawson, 3-5, HR; Sawick, 0-4; Kulow, 1-4; Kolinski, 0-3; Sawyer, 0-1; Barrett, 0-2; Richardson, 0-1; Gist, 0-2; Grogan, 0-1; Macey, 1-3, 3B; Rognon, 1-3.
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