Legion Playoffs: Post 87 sweeps Winston-Salem for Area III title
Given five chances to earn a spot at the American Legion baseball state tournament, Post 87 decided three was plenty.
Already up two games in the best-of-five Area III championship series, the HiToms brought out the whooping sticks and brooms at Rich Park. Collecting 16 hits which included three home runs, Post 87 rolled to a 14-3 win in seven innings over Winston-Salem and a series sweep. It is the third time in four seasons the program has qualified for the state tournament, which will begin Friday in Lexington.
“We smashed it tonight, and anytime you smash the ball early and it is a continuous thing, it puts so much pressure on the other team,” said manager Rob Shore. “They would get one and then we would get it right back. I am very excited about the possibilities we have here going into the state championship.”
Taylor Sugg tossed a complete game for Post 87 to aid in the victory, but it was the work at the plate that was most impressive. Ryan Caveness, Ryan Hedrick and Colin Rosenbaum each homered for the HiToms. Rosenbaum finished with a 4-for-5 day at the plate driving in four runs.
“We all came out and were really swinging the sticks well,” said the Trinity graduate. “Coach said to pound the ball and light up the scoreboard and that is what we did. Fortunately we got ahead early and stayed there.”
Post 87 got all the runs needed for a win in the second inning with an assembly line of singles. All six hits in the frame were of the single variety resulting in four runs. Greg White drove in two with Rosenbaum and Caveness collecting an RBI each.
They built on the 4-0 lead the next inning on a scary play at first base. A hard grounder off the bat of Evan Edwards took a big bounce off the playing surface and struck Post 55's Caleb Cox in the mouth. Cox walked off on his own power but did not return. Zach McLean came around to score on the play.
The HiToms' lead was about to become a bit more comfortable in the fourth inning when the power of the team was put on display.
With two men aboard and one out on the scoreboard, Hedrick was about to step in. Frustrated by his first two plate appearances, the outfielder held a discussion the inning before with assistant coach Chris Ferrante about what he was doing wrong. The Post 87 alum gave him a brief tutorial and Hedrick took the advice with him to the plate. Making his coach look good, Hedrick blasted a three-run shot over the tall green wall in left field to push the advantage out to 8-0.
The best Winston-Salem could do was trade runs over the next two innings. Post 87 got solo home runs from Caveness and Rosenbaum to maintain a 10-2 lead.
Post 55 scored one more time in the sixth inning, but a four-run seventh from the HiToms brought an end to the series via the mercy rule.
“To come in here and sweep them after what they did to Rowan County, I am surprised,” Shore said. “But I am not surprised at how well we played. Our guys showed up every single game.”
Any other season Winston-Salem would be participating in the state tournament as well. But due to Davidson County hosting the tournament and receiving an automatic bid, only one team could go from Area III. The HiToms took satisfaction in knowing they had to earn their spot every step of the way.
“We did it the hard way because we had to win this series,” said Shore. “We are now the only team from this area that has earned its way into the state tournament.”
Post 87 (26-6) is scheduled to play Wayne County at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Holt-Moffitt Field.