It was the firstever game for the Moscow “Rebel” Blue Devils, yet it also was a showdown of familiar foes.
In the latest edition of crazy summer baseball, Moscow and its rivals, the Palouse Coyotes, split a doubleheader Tuesday at Bear Field. The scores were 7-3 Moscow and 14-3 Palouse.
The Pullman-based team has played its entire summer season as the independent Palouse Coyotes (9-6) this season rather than the Palouse Patriots under the American Legion umbrella.
Moscow, on the other hand, went 18-4 under its usual Legion name, the Blue Devils, before the season was canned July 12.
Now, they’re the Rebel Blue Devils (1-1), playing as an independent team like their rivals across the border, trying to get a few more games in during a summer of twists and turns.
“This whole year kind of was up in the air, so we knew every game we got was a blessing,” said Cam Vis, who powered Moscow offensively and on the mound in the first game. “It’s definitely good to get a couple more in.”
Vis did a little bit of everything — and more — in his final doubleheader with the Rebel Blue Devils before heading out of town.
On the mound, he pitched all but one out for Moscow in Game 1, tallying five strikeouts in 6ž innings. At the plate, Vis went 4-for-4 with two runs and two RBI.
“My defense backed me up the first few innings,” Vis said. “I kind of got stronger as the game went on. It was a good team win.”
Moscow used steady scoring to build an advantage Palouse couldn’t overcome. The Rebel Blue Devils took a 3-1 lead in the third inning on an RBI double by Jarod Grady that scored Hayden Thompson, and Grady then came around on a Peyton Waters RBI.
The Rebel Blue Devils scored at least one run in all but one inning.
In the second game, the Coyotes were hungry for runs of their own. Palouse built a 9-0 lead in the first two innings and didn’t look back from there.
The Coyotes benefited from a strong showing by Hyatt Utzman in his first doubleheader with Palouse. He started the season on the Walla Walla Sweets and missed the past two weeks with a shoulder injury.
Utzman started on the mound, striking out four and allowing no runs in two innings, and he added an RBI double and a run at the plate.
“I told (coach) Gabby (Rodriguez) I wanted to pitch first because I wanted to make a statement to start off the game strong,” Utzman said, “and kind of just got things rolling early.”
Utzman’s double scored Konner Kinkade and Nate Akesson, and pushed the Palouse lead to 3-0 — an advantage that continued to grow through the first three innings.
He said it’s nice to be back with a lot of his Pullman High School teammates.
“It’s always great ’cause these are like my high school teammates and stuff who I’ll hopefully be playing with if there’s a season next year, and a lot of my buddies I go to school with,” Utzman said. “It’s just a fun atmosphere to be out here and playing.”
Palouse 100 101 0—3 7 3
Moscow 102 112 x—7 11 2
Peter Smith, Kayden Carpenter (4) and Carson Coulter; Cam Vis, Kyle Lynas (7) and CJ Anderson. W—Vis. L—Carpenter.
Palouse hits — Carson Coulter 2, Eric Akesson 2 (2B), Konner Kinkade, Payton Kallaher, Hyatt Utzman.
Moscow hits — Cam Vis 4, Hayden Thompson 2, Peyton Waters 2, Barrett Abendroth, Jarod Grady, Kyle Lynas.
Palouse 307 04—14 9 1
Moscow 003 00—3 5 4
Hyatt Utzman, Ryan Bickelhaupt (3), Payton Kallaher (5) and Konner Kinkade; Connor Akins, Jarod Grady (3), Kyle Lynas (4) and Barrett Abendroth. W—Utzman. L—Akins.
Palouse hits — Carson Coulter 3, Nate Akesson 2, Konner Kinkade (2B), Hyatt Utzman (2B), Mitch LaVielle, Kolby Sisk.
Moscow hits — Hayden Thompson 2 (2B), Kyle Lynas (2B), Mack Hagenbaugh (2B), Barrett Abendroth.
Wiebe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at (208) 883-4624 and on Twitter @StephanSports.