Legion Playoffs: Gay, Post 87 dominate Game 2
On Monday night Post 87 needed last inning heroics to beat Burlington-Graham. Tuesday they took care of business much earlier.
Behind a strong effort on the mound from Trevor Gay and an offense that kept Post 63 busy the entire night, the HiToms sent their guests back to Burlington early with a 10-0 win in seven innings. Gay fanned 11 in his five innings on the hill, making his first start of the summer count in a big way. Evan Edwards smacked a three-run homer and had two hits for the night. Zach McLean added two hits as well. Post 87 takes a 2-0 lead in their first round, best-of-five series of the Area III American Legion playoffs.
“Anytime you 10-run rule anybody you are doing your job,” said Post 87 coach Rob Shore. “I felt we could have scored more runs, but I will not complain when we 10-run rule somebody.”
Gay was sharp in his first appearance in a starting role. Shore stuck to his plan set earlier in the season to try and save some of his better arms for the postseason. The High Point Central graduate looked fresh and overpowered the Post 63 lineup, limiting them to just a handful of hits. His final two innings were his strongest, striking out five of the six batters he faced. Bryce Lance finished out the game in relief.
“We have been saving him,” Shore said. “He has probably thrown 4 or 5 innings all year here and there. He did exactly what we needed him to do. He went out there and shut them down.”
The HiToms fell behind 4-0 after two innings in the first game of the series, but returned the favor to lead by the same tally Tuesday.
Colin Rosenbaum doubled and scored on a single by Cesar Trejo in the first inning. McLean's sharp single to left was not handled cleanly by the outfielder, allowing Trejo enough time to sprint home for a 2-0 cushion.
The lead reached four in the second thanks to a Hayden Manuel RBI single and Rosenbaum sacrifice fly.
Burlington did not have the offense to catch up. They challenged Gay in the third inning by advancing a runner to third, but Gay slammed the door closed with a strikeout.
Post 87 went for the knockout punch in the fourth. Batting through the order, the HiToms scored five times to increase its advantage to 9-0. Edwards delivered the biggest blow with his drive over the left field wall that plated three runs.
“You are comfortable when you are ahead early,” said Shore. “If we put the pressure on the other team and make them have to fight back from behind, we always have the advantage. Tonight we put people in scoring position almost every inning.”
Three walks and an infield single in the seventh accounted for the last run that brought the mercy rule into play.
It was the fourth time in four tries that the HiToms have beaten Burlington-Graham.
Game 3 is scheduled for tonight in Burlington, while a fourth game if needed will return to Finch Field Thursday.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.