Legion Tourney: Post 87 remains perfect after defeating Shelby
Shelby entered Saturday's game with only one blemish on its season. They left Holt-Moffitt Field with a second one thanks to a strong offensive showing by Post 87.
Rarely has Post 82 been threatened in a game by an opposing team, but the HiToms more than proved they could hang with the 39-2 club in the winner's bracket of the American Legion state baseball tournament. The HiToms spotted Shelby two runs in the first inning, but when the dust settled on the afternoon showdown it was Post 87 staying perfect at the tournament in a 12-5 victory. They will meet the Gaston Braves-Davidson County winner Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m.
Not only were the bats out in full force for Post 87, but Trevor Gay had good stuff on the mound all night. After a shaky first inning and a solo shot in the second, Gay allowed only two men to reach base over the next six innings. He came out after the eighth inning with his team in front 12-3.
“Early on I couldn't find my slider, so I went with the changeup,” said Gay. “Then I found the slider in the later innings.”
Up 2-1 after an inning, Shelby moved its advantage to three with a solo home run from Jackson Mims. It was the last time Gay would let the opposition score.
The HiToms (28-6) evened the score in the third inning on Cesar Trejo's two-RBI double. It was a warmup for bigger things to come next frame.
Batting around in the order for a second straight night, Post 87 scratched for six runs, handing Shelby its biggest deficit of the season. For a moment it appeared the HiToms had run themselves out of a big inning. With one out and runners on first and second, Colin Rosenbaum stroked a single to right. Confusion on the bases resulted in a second out. Ryan Hedrick was struck by a pitch to load the bases, but still no harm had been done. Zach McLean changed that. The High Point Christian stud laced a bases-clearing double to right field. Trejo, Evan Edwards and Ben Fischer added RBI singles, extending the margin to 9-3.
“The last two nights we got behind and we didn't give up – we started smacking the ball,” said Post 87 manager Rob Shore. “It seems like when we get behind that is when our kids step up.”
Over the next three innings, the HiToms added three runs and nearly ended the game by the mercy rule in the eighth.
Shelby scored twice in the final inning to have something to build on entering Sunday's elimination game with Wilmington.
“We heard they were 39-1 before we played the game,” said Gay. “But like our coach said, they have not played us yet. This is huge. We are hot at the right time.”
Every player in the Post 87 lineup had at least one hit. Trejo had a breakout game for Post 87, driving in four runs to help him temporarily break out of a slump.
“The last few games I have struggled compared to the way I was hitting the ball earlier this season,” said the infielder. “I tried some different approaches and changed bats. But I decided to go back to the first bat I was using and am stroking it again.”
Notes: Gay struck out six and gave up six hits … Josh Wilson pitched the ninth inning for Post 87 … The HiToms have already won more games at the state tournament than their two previous trips combined in 2011 and 2012.