Legion Baseball: Randolph County powers by Post 87
Wednesday’s trip to McCrary Park proved how dangerous the High Point legion team can be. Thursday’s outing at Finch Field was a representation of their recent struggles.
A night after downing Randolph County by six, the two teams turned around and played again in the Chair City, this time with Post 45 handling the Junior HiToms 10-4.
“Tonight was the exact opposite of last night,” said skipper Rob Shore. “We beat them 9-3 Wednesday by getting ahead in the count and hit with people on base. We didn’t do that tonight. If those two small things are flipped then tonight is a totally different outcome. We got people on and could not get the big hit.”
Post 87 stranded nine men in scoring position while Randolph left just five, taking advantage of scoring chances when they presented themselves.
Avery Jackson and Cody Trogdon paced the Randolph lineup with each going 3-for-5. Eight of the nine starters had hits.
Post 45 jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning, getting the first two men aboard before Kyle Smith clubbed a double down the line in right.
High Point equaled the run production in the home half. Hayden Manuel was plunked on the arm and reached third on Zach McLain’s double down the line in left. Manuel raced home on a passed ball and McLain reached the plate safely on a groundout from Zach Michalski.
Scoreless through the next three innings, Randolph scratched for a run on consecutive hits — a double by Troy Burr and single by Easton Welch.
The Junior HiToms did one better in their half of the frame. Manuel once again was hit by a pitch and a pair of singles followed to load the bases. Pete Guy walked to drive in the tying run, then a sacrifice fly by Michalski put Post 87 up 4-3. The inning could have produced more, but Guy was caught stealing and Nathan Reynolds got a ground ball off the bat of Kyle Morrison to end the threat.
It was all Post 45 from then on. HiToms starter Chase Saunders was chased in the seventh inning and reliever Mitch Carstens had his troubles. Randolph batted around, scoring four times to regain control, 7-4.
They added one run in the eighth on a Trogdon solo home run, and extended the margin to six in the ninth with two more.
Post 87 had their chances to slice into the lead, but failed to produce hits when it needed them. The bases were left loaded in the seventh and ninth innings.
“I felt like we hit the ball decent today but we did not get the hits to get them in,” Shore said. “That was frustrating.”
High Point dips to 16-7 overall and 3-3 in the Northeast Division. The loss could potentially keep them from having home field advantage when the playoffs start next week.
“I feel like we are better than our record,” said Shore. “But this is about where we have finished the last two years. We have never finished first nor had home field advantage, and we have been just fine. This is not where I would choose to be, but we will have to deal with it now.”
Positioning may be similar, but momentum is nowhere near close to where it has been. The last two weeks have not been encouraging to Shore.
“If the team that showed up Wednesday shows up every single night, we will be fine. But it is this team that showed up tonight that has been killing us. We were 14-2 and now we are 16-7. That makes us 2-5 the last seven games and that is not cutting it.”
Randolph (19-5) is tied for the top spot at 3-2 with Burlington-Graham. The two were to meet Friday night in Burlington.