19U Legion off to fast start

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Josh Flickinger/Beloit Daily News Beloit's Miguel Betancourt delivers a pitch in game two of Tuesday's doubleheader at Pohlman Field.

BELOIT - No regional title was won. No hardware was earned, and there wasn't a giant dogpile on the mound after the games were done.

But the Beloit 19U Legion picked a pretty impressive way to begin their busy summer of baseball.

Beloit swept traditional power Madison Impact in a doubleheader at Pohlman Field, winning game one 3-1 and game two 4-2.

Hunter Waldsmith was the star in game one, going all seven innings, while Beloit squeezed out some early runs and hung on in game two.

The imports from Janesville played a large role in the sweep as well. Recent Janesville Parker graduate Sam Nemetz scored a run and drove in another in Beloit's key rally in game one, then was solid out of the bullpen in game two.

It was, to be sure, a successful evening for the local nine.

"2-0 is huge, especially over a good team that has given us problems in the past," Waldsmith said. "We're excited about what we can do this season. It's obviously a little different with guys coming down from Janesville for the first time, but we're getting along well, we're joking around, and that's really important in baseball."

Waldsmith made a great first impression on his new teammates, allowing just five hits and one unearned run to earn the win.

"He threw well. He was on tonight," head coach Rich Raisbeck said. "Coming out here on the first night, we didn't want to him to go too deep with his pitch count. He couldn't have gone much more, but we didn't need him to tonight. He threw a heck of a game."

Beloit trailed 1-0 before scoring three times in the bottom of the sixth to move ahead. Nemetz had an RBI double, Brandon Niedfeldt had a sacrifice fly to take a 2-1 lead, and Sam Behm drove home an insurance run with a single.

In game two, Beloit starting pitcher Miguel Betancourt allowed two runs to the Impact in the first inning, but the Beloit offense rallied with three runs of its own in the bottom of the frame.

Betancourt settled down, and the offense tallied another run in the third to make it 4-2. Madison scored a run in the fifth to cut the deficit to 4-3, and Nemetz and Behm held Impact down to close the game.

Behm entered the contest with runners at first and second and two outs and promptly walked the first batter he faced to load the bases. He then induced a fly to left to earn the save.

"After I walked the first guy, I told myself that I wasn't going to beat myself," Behm said. "I was going to make him beat me. He hit it hard, but right at somebody."

Raisbeck, who is still awaiting the arrival of four players from WIAA state-qualifying Janesville Craig, said the transition is going well thus far. Janesville did not have enough players to field its own 19U team this summer and the Beloit program was willing to add them to its roster.

"As the night went on, everyone was getting more used to the guy next to him," Raisbeck said. "The dugout was a little quiet at first, but by the end everyone in the dugout was up and cheering for each other. It's just going to be a process, and it's going to take some time. But everyone in this dugout wants to win. There's a common goal, and these guys will work together to get there."

Beloit will be back in action at Pohlman Field Thursday when they host Burlington at 5 p.m. in the first game of a doubleheader.

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