Legion Baseball: Junior HiToms cruise in home opener
At times last season the Post 87 legion team waited late in games to get the offense revved up. In Thursday’s home opener with Western Forsyth, the bats were humming early in midseason form.
The Junior HiToms scratched for eight runs in the first two innings and got a solid start on the mound from Tyler Britton, all leading to a 10-0 win in seven innings.
Post 87 took advantage of control issues from Post 522 pitcher Jake Mayhew in the first inning. When the ball did find the zone, the bats were sending rockets to all parts of Finch Field.
Levi Gessell walked and reached second on a ground out. Hard-hitting Zack McClain lifted a double to the gap to score the first run. Mayhew then hit two consecutive batters to load the bases. The beneficiary was Nick Blackwood, who singled by first baseman Lee Eubanks and drove home two more HiToms. David Newcomer launched a double off the wall to score an additional run, with Blackwood scoring the fifth run on a ground out.
“Any time you jump out ahead early on a team like that it puts the pressure on the other team to battle back,” said coach Rob Shore. “We hit the ball well early and that is always one of the biggest keys to baseball.”
One run would have been plenty for Britton from Catawba College. He tossed five innings with one hit allowed while facing just one over the minimum. Britton sent Post 522 down in order in every inning but the first.
“Tyler is going to be my No. 1 this year,” said Shore. “He went out and did exactly what I needed him to. Gave up one hit and struck out seven in five innings while throwing 67 pitches. He threw strikes and only walked one batter. He is our go-to guy and I think he wants that role.”
High Point peppered the ball around the ballpark again in the second. Gessell led off with a single and took second on a passed ball. The extra base allowed him to score on McClain’s shot to the wall in left. McClain pulled into second base standing with a double. His trip of 180 more feet were even easier. Zack Michalski homered over the left field wall, padding the Post 87 lead to 8-0.
The HiToms added a run in the third and picked up the 10th run for the mercy rule in the fifth. Mitch Carstens doubled with one out and later tagged up for a score on a foul out down the right field line.
Now 2-0, Post 87 hosts Concord Saturday and travels to Kernersville Sunday.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.