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Legion sweeps Martinsville; tournament opens Saturday

The South Boston American Legion Post 8 junior legion baseball team is taking things down to the wire as it battles for a spot in the top three of the American Legion district standings. Last night, Post 8 was scheduled to play New River Post 68 in Pulaski in a game that will determine its seeding in the American Legion district tournament which opens Saturday at Ferrum College in Rocky Mount.

A win last night might be enough to allow Post 8 to finish in a possible tie that could potentially land the team in the top three in the standings and earn it a bye in Saturday’s opening round of the district tournament.

Another key game, one that pitted Roanoke against Amherst, was on tap for last night as well, with the outcome of that game also having an influence on the final district standings, which are expected to be unveiled today.

Post 8 got a big leg up on its bid for third place by sweeping Martinsville Post 42 in a doubleheader here Tuesday night. Both games were high-scoring affairs, with Post 8 winning the first game 11-10 and backing it up with a come-from behind 12-11 win in six innings in the nightcap, which was originally scheduled as a five-inning contest.

“Those were very big wins,” said Post 8 manager Jody Nelson.

“We knew there was a lot at stake going into those games, but I had no idea of the real magnitude of the ramifications if we were able to sweep them, which we did.”

Tuesday’s pair of games were barnburners from the outset, with first one team and then the other getting the upper hand.
Post 8 fell behind 1-0 in the top of the first inning of the opening game, but rallied for three runs in the bottom of the inning, two of them coming on a two-RBI double by Michael Watts, to take a 3-1 lead.

Martinsville Post 42 got a run back in the third inning and scored twice in the top of the fourth inning to take a 4-3 lead. Post 8 got a pair of runs, one from Tristan Howerton who scored on a double steal and one on a run-scoring hit by Tyler Stephens, to retake the lead at 5-4.

Martinsville answered with four runs in the fifth inning to go up 8-5. Post 8 responded with five runs in its half of the inning to take the lead back at 10-8. Two of the Post 8 runs scored when Will Harris reached base on an error. Two others scored on a two-RBI double by Watts.

The visitors tied the game with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth inning that included a leadoff solo home run. Post 8 broke the tie in the bottom of the sixth inning with what would be the game-winning run.

Tripp Bennett reached base on an error to start the inning and scored on a one-out single by Howerton.

Post 8 had seven hits in the game with Stephens and Watts getting two hits each. Howerton, Harris and Seth Elliott each had one hit.

In the nightcap, Post 8 appeared to be in trouble after falling behind 6-1 in the first inning and a half. But, the host club kept chipping away at the deficit.

Post 8 scored four runs in the fourth inning, and plated two runs in the fifth inning to deadlock the game.

South Boston picked up the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Stephens led off the inning with a hit and later scored on a wild pitch with two out.

Post 8 had 12 hits in the game with Stephens leading the way with a perfect 4-4 effort at the plate that includeda triple. Eddie Chaney, Watts, Elliott, Shane Bousman, Galontre Thaxton, Ryan Powell and Josh Briggs had a hit each.