Braves call down thunder in Game 2 against Bandits

Livingston Braves fifth-year veteran Buck Spallone (12) pitches from the mound against the Belgrade Bandits during Game 2 of an American Legion baseball doubleheader on Monday afternoon at Jack Weimer Memorial Field in Livingston. Enterprise photo by Jordan P. Ingram.
Jordan P. Ingram
Enterprise Staff Writer

Dark thunderclouds clapped in the distance before rolling above Park County, belching forth electromagnetic tentacles that stretched across the sky. 

And just below the turbulent gray mass of writhing clouds and scuds, Livingston Braves pitcher Buck Spallone was throwing firebolts across the plate in the final home game of his American Legion baseball career. 

In Game 2 of a Southern A conference doubleheader, Spallone had three strikeouts and allowed just two hits and two runs to help Livingston take a 6-2 lead over the visiting Belgrade Bandits before the game was postponed at the top of the fourth inning due to extreme weather conditions. 

After jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the opening game, the Braves struggled to recapture that initial burst of energy and fell to the Bandits 17-2 in five innings. 

During the break, Spallone said he hoped to tighten up in the field after Livingston gave up four errors to Belgrade.

“The (Bandits) hit really well but we just need to fix the errors,” Spallone said. “I wanna go out there with some confidence and throw strikes. We need to just play clean baseball and hopefully take the win.”

And the five-year Legion veteran led by example, holding the Bandits scoreless for the first two innings on the mound, which allowed the Braves offense to find its rhythm. 

Sage McMinn rocked a line-drive RBI single to center field for Livingston to take an early 1-0 lead over Belgrade. 

And the Braves kept the hits coming in the next inning.

Brock Peterson started off things with a double shot to center field, setting up subsequent doubles from both Zander Petrich and McMinn, before Chasyn Campbell and Clayton Busby each had RBI singles to put the Braves up 6-2 over the Bandits. 

And that’s when the thunderstorm rolled in, prompting the umpire to direct both teams to their respective dugouts for cover, putting the game on hold until a later date.  

McMinn went 2 for 3 with a double and two RBI and a run scored, and Petrich was 2 of 3 with an RBI and scored twice for the Braves, who outhit the Bandits, 8-2.

And as for Spallone’s final game at Jack Weimer Memorial Field?

“I’d like to win, that would be nice,” Spallone said. 

And Spallone may get another chance to finish what he started in front of a home crowd. 

Depending on the weather, of course.  

Up next

The Livingston Braves hit the road for a Southern A doubleheader against the Butte Muckers starting at 3 p.m. on Tuesday at Miner’s Field in Butte.