Legion Tourney: Post 87 needs rally to win opener over Wayne County
Far from being one of their best performances of the season, Post 87 did enough to win a first round meeting with Wayne County at the American Legion state tournament Friday.
A half inning after Post 11 put up a five-spot to take over the lead, the HiToms responded with seven runs to build a lead of five. They would give two runs back but held on for an 11-8 victory at Holt-Moffitt Field.
Post 87 (27-6) led 4-1 through five innings. At the time it seemed like a comfortable lead as Wayne County struggled with the bats. They broke through in the sixth to reverse momentum.
Sending 11 men to the plate, Post 11 erupted for five runs, turning a deficit of three into an advantage of two.
It did not last long.
The potent offense of the HiToms had sputtered earlier in the night, but got rolling at just the right time in the home half. Post 87 would match the 11 batters Wayne County sent to the dish and added two more. Ryan Caveness and Ryan Hedrick had the two biggest hits of the inning. They both drove in two runs each in helping the Tommies put up seven runs to lead 11-6.
It was the kind of response it takes in order to compete for a state title.
“Our guys have a lot of fight,” said head coach Rob Shore. “The only thing we have really known all year is to make sure we finish. We turned right around to score seven and that was exciting to see.”
Wayne County (16-8-1) chipped away with solo runs in the seventh and ninth innings, but fell short of a full comeback.
It may have not been a convincing victory like Post 87 is accustomed to, but no style points are given. Finding the win column this time of year is all that matters.
“I will take a win at the state championship because they have been hard to come by for us,” said Shore.
Wayne County will face Hope Mills in an elimination game Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. Post 87 plays Shelby at 4:30 p.m.
Notes: Caveness, Hedrick, Zach McLean and Cesar Trejo had two hits each for Post 87 … Kevin Williams collected four hits to pace Post 11.