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Elliott home run gives Post 8 win

When it came down to crunch time in Sunday night’s game against district leader Lynchburg Post 16 Red, the South Boston American Legion Post 8 junior legion baseball team didn’t flinch. Lynchburg Post 16 Red forced the game into extra innings by getting a leadoff single and scoring a run in the top of the eighth inning to take a 4-3 lead. But, Post 8 ended the game in dramatic fashion, getting a two-run homer by Seth Elliott in the bottom of the eighth inning to give Post 8 a 5-4 win.

The dramatic walk off homer by Elliott gave Post 8 its seventh victory of the season and ran the team’s record to 7-4 overall. Elliott’s home run completed a big day in which Elliott went 3-3 at the plate.

“Seth got a good pitch to hit,” said Post 8 manager Jody Nelson.

“He got it all. It was his time.”

The win was a big one for Post 8, which had seen its recent five-game win streak snapped Friday night by Rocky Mount Post 6, which had been a contender for the top spot in the district with Lynchburg Post 16 Red.

“This win gets the kids excited again,” Nelson pointed out.

“It really meant a lot to them to beat the team that has won the district regular-season title. It also means a lot to our program as a whole.”

The win keeps Post 8 in contention for one of the top three spots in the district standings and a bye in the opening round of the district tournament, which opens Saturday at Ferrum College in Rocky Mount.

Post 8 was slated to host Martinsville Post 42 (7-5 overall) here last night in a doubleheader in what was to be the team’s final home date.

The team’s final regular-season game was originally scheduled for tonight at 7 p.m. at Halifax County High School when Post 8 was to square off against Salem Post 3. However, officials with the Salem team have contacted Post 8 team officials saying they will forfeit that game to Post 8 so that the team could make up other contests.

As a result, Post 8 had eight wins in its pocket heading into last doubleheader. A sweep last night would give Post 8 a 10-win season and an even better shot at landing the opening-round bye in the tournament heading into Thursday night’s scheduled season finale against New River Post 68 in Pulaski.

Elliott wasn’t the only Post 8 player to have a big day Sunday against Lynchburg Post 16 Red. Also having a big day at the plate was Tripp Bennett, who was 3-4 on the day. Elliott and Bennett accounted for six of the 10 hits Post 8 had in the game. Tyler Stephens had two hits in the winning effort while Tristan Howerton and Ryan Powell each chipped in a hit.

Lynchburg Post 16 Red jumped on top in the top of the first inning, using back-to-back hits to start the inning and a wild pitch later in the frame to take a 1-0 lead. The visitors added another run in the top of the third inning, again taking advantage of a leadoff single and a Post 8 error to score a run and pad its lead to 2-0.

Post 8 rallied to score three runs in the bottom of the second inning to take a 3-2 lead. Michael Watts walked and stole second base and a walk by Dustin Crews put runners at first base and second base. A hit by Bennett scored Watts to make it a 2-1 game.

Hurler Ryan Powell walked to load the sacks and a walk to Elliott forced in Crews to deadlock the game at 2-2. Howerton walked to force in a run that put Post 8 on top 3-2.

Post 8 was in position to add to its lead only to see the inning come to end when Will Harris hit into a double play that ended the inning.

Holding a 3-2 lead, Post 8 saw Lynchburg Post 16 Red capitalize on two hits and a walk in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game at 3-3. Lynchburg took the lead for the second time in the game with its run in the top of the eighth inning, but was unable to hold on as Post 8 pulled the game out of the fire.

Eddie Chaney walked with one out and Elliott followed with the two-run homer that won the game.

“It was kind of like Dan (Post 8 coach Dan Powell) said,” Nelson pointed out.

“He said we had to score one run, why not score two.”