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Alexandria cruises past Garretson in State B tourney

Leah Rado/Republic Alexandria center fielder Peyton Smith is greeted at home plate by teammates Tyson Gau (5) and Cole Wenande after hitting a three-run homer in the fourth inning of the Angels' game against Garretson Wednesday in the first round of the Class B state Legion tournament in Platte.

PLATTE -- If Wednesday's first game at the Class B state Legion tournament in Platte was a marathon, the second game of the day was a sprint.

After a three hour and 45 minute tournament opener, Alexandria took advantage of solid pitching and two big innings to beat Garretson 10-0 in five innings by virtue of the 10-run rule.

The Angels used a five-hit, six-run fifth inning to end the game early and earn a spot in the winner's bracket for today's second round.

"It's big to get that (first-round win)," Alexandria coach Jerry Smith said. "It's huge."

Besides pitcher Tyson Gau, Peyton Smith played perhaps the biggest role in the Angels' first-round win. He scored the eventual winning run in the first inning when he reached on a walk and moved over to second when Gau walked, stole third on a wild pitch and made it home on the same play when Garretson catcher Spencer Paulsen was a little too slow in getting the ball back to pitcher James Howe.

In the fourth inning, Smith started the first of two big innings for Alexandria with a three-run homer over the left field fence for a 4-0 lead for the Angels.

"He's a spark plug for us," Jerry Smith said of Peyton. "That's his first home run ever. He had a huge day for us. I like to see that."

Added Peyton Smith: "(The pitch) was right down the plate and I guess I just hit it good."

Alexandria scored six runs in the fifth inning to end the game early.

Gau singled to start the inning, Pierce Smith was hit by a pitch and Tad DeRouchey walked to load the bases. Brett Vondra hit into a fielder's choice and Gau was tagged out at home for the first out, but Camron Kerkhove hit a two-run single, Tracy Hofer drove in a run with a single and Trevor Doyle had a two-run double for Alexandria's final run.

"(The win) is huge," Peyton Smith said. "We 10-runned them, too, so it keeps Tyson as (an option) for pitching."

While Alexandria was busy racking up hits, Gau, the Angels' ace, was busy keeping Garretson off the scoreboard. He finished the game with 11 strikeouts, one walk and three hits.

"Whenever Tyson throws, the kids always play well behind him," Jerry Smith said. "When you've got a pitcher like Tyson, that first game is easy."

Peyton Smith finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs to lead Alexandria and Doyle and Kerkhove were 1-for-3 with two RBIs.

The Angels play Platte-Geddes tonight at about 7:30 p.m.

"Our kids are here to play; they know what they've got to do," Jerry Smith said. "Camron will probably throw for us. When you get those first two victories it's big. Our kids will feed off this and be ready to play again."