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Post 8 takes division lead

Call them the comeback kids. The South Boston American Legion Post 8 Junior Legion baseball team has bounced back and forth in three of its last four games, but has shown a propensity for capitalizing on other teams’ miscues.


Post 8 did that again Wednesday night in sweeping a doubleheader against Big Island Post 217 at Halifax County High School.

South Boston scored four runs in the first two innings and went on to defeat Big Island Post 217 5-2 in Wednesday’s opener. In the nightcap, Post 8 rallied to score five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and held on to edge Big Island 10-9.

Wednesday night’s sweep improved the Post 8 record to 5-1 on the season. 

‘These were big wins for us,” said Post 8 Head Coach Jody Nelson. 

“Not only was it wins in two district games, these were two division games. That will put us ahead in the East Division. That’s where we want to be heading into July. If we can sweep Friday, it will put us 4-0 in the district and the division.”

Big Island Post 217 was undefeated at 4-0 entering Wednesday’s doubleheader, with the losses in Wednesday’s two East Division games being the team’s first losses of the season.

Post 8 faces another important night of division play tonight when it hosts Patrick County Post 105 at 7 p.m. at Halifax County High School. When action begins tonight, the two teams will resume a game that was played on June 11 and stopped by thunderstorms in the fourth inning with Post 8 leading 10-0.

After that game is completed, the teams will play their regularly scheduled game. Another pair of wins by Post 8 tonight will further solidify Post 8’s position at the top of the East Division standings.

It was Post 8 all the way in Wednesday night’s opening game of the doubleheader. Starting pitcher Ryan Powell went the distance, fanning four batters and scattering 7 hits. Michael Watts came up big on the offensive side, getting two of the team’s seven hits and an RBI.

Post 8 scored twice in the first inning, with Tristan Howerton, who had a combined 4-5 night at the plate that included a pair of doubles, leading off with a double. Dustin Crews walked and a hit by Will Harris scored Howerton to put Post 8 up 1-0. A run-scoring hit by Bradley Tickle gave Post 8 a 2-0 lead.

Big Island Post 217 cut into the Post 8 lead to make it a 2-1 score, but Post 8 answered with two more runs in the bottom of the second inning to take a 4-1 lead. With the bases loaded, Crews lofted a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Drew Link, who started the inning with a walk. An overthrow to third base by the Big Island catcher on an attempted play to nab Kelonte Gutrich allowed Gutrich to score and gave Post 8 a 4-1 lead.

A run-scoring hit by Watts in the third inning put Post 8 up 5-1. Big Island Post 217 took advantage of a hit and a pair of Post 8 errors to score a run in the top of the fifth inning to account for the 5-2 final score.

The second game was an error-frought exercise for both teams, with Post 8 committing five errors and Big Island Post 217 making four miscues.

Two Post 8 errors and a pair of run-scoring hits allowed Big Island to tag Post 8 for three runs in the top of the first inning for an early 3-0 lead.

After tying the game at 4-4 in the third inning, Post 8 fell behind 8-5 at the end of five and a half innings. Post 8 came up with some big hits at the right time and took advantage of Big Island Post 217 miscues to score five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 10-8 lead.

Watts, Link and Tripp Bennett walked to load the bases. A single by Howerton plated Antwaun Tucker, who was running for Watts, to make the score 8-6. With the bases loaded, Link scored on a wild pitch to make the score 8-7. A two-RBI double by Crews gave Post 8 a 9-8 lead. A double by Tyler Stephens scored Crews to give Post 8 a 10-8 lead.

Things got a little shaky for Post 8 in the top of the seventh inning when Big Island Post 217 took advantage of a Post 8 error and a hit to score a run and make it a one-run game at 10-9. Post 8 and Justin Womack, who entered the game in the fifth inning to relieve starter Seth Elliott, shut down Big Island Post 217 after that to preserve the one-run win.

Elliott fanned seven batters and scattered three walks and seven hits through his five innings of work. Womack struck out one batter and allowed one hit and one walk in his two innings on the mound.

“Good baseball teams will capitalize, and good baseball teams are capable of coming back,” Nelson pointed out.

“Our pitching is keeping us in these games. Ryan Powell threw exceptionally well. Seth did a good job keeping us in the game. Justin Womack did a heck of a job coming in. 

“Defensively we still need some work,” added Nelson.

“Offensively, we’re starting to get some things done. We’re starting to be able to manufacture some runs, bunt a little bit and hit behind the runners. We got timely hitting, and we able to capitalize on some of their mistakes, some of their wild pitches they made.”

Post 8 had eight hits in the nightcap, with Howerton going 3-4 at the plate and Stephens getting a pair of hits to account for five of the team’s eight hits. Three of the team’s eight hits in the game were doubles.