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State berth at stake for Post 8

Brad Tickle was as surprised as anyone when the floating fly ball he hit to left field with two out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning was dropped.

South Boston American Legion Post 8 scored two runs on the error by the Big Island Post 217 leftfielder to take a 2-1 lead.

“I was just happy that we scored two runs on the play,” said the Post 8 first baseman.

“I wasn’t paying attention. I should have been at second base.”

Later, Post 8 centerfielder Ryan Powell produced a three-RBI triple that gave Post 8 a 6-1 lead.

“It was a good hit,” Powell pointed out. 

“It (the pitch) was on the outside corner. After I took the first pitch, I could see where he (the Big island pitcher) was spotting the ball. I just went with it.”

Before the bottom of the first inning ended, Post 8 had scored nine runs to take a commanding 9-1 lead. Post 8 went on to score a 12-2 win in five innings in Monday night’s game at Halifax County High School to force an extra game last night to determine the American Legion Baseball District 9 Junior Legion East Division championship.

The winner of last night’s game earns a berth in the Junior Legion state tournament. 

“It was a good game for us,” Post 8 Manager Jody Nelson said after his team’s win.

“The guy in left field was struggling with the lights. We got them (Big Island Post 217) flustered a little bit and just kept adding on. That was the first time we’ve had a big lead and been able to maintain it. Our guys didn’t fall off.”

The division championship was originally scheduled to be determined Monday night, even if an extra game had been necessary. However, a three-hour delay in starting the game as a result of a thunderstorm that brought heavy rain to the area and the resulting late ending of the game led tournament officials to schedule the deciding game for last night.

That decision was an unpopular one, as noted by a chorus of boos from a number of the sparse crowd of fans. 

“There are pros and cons each way,” Nelson pointed out.

“We had the momentum in our favor with the win. It (the second game) would have been real late ending. I’m okay with it.”

Tickle was among those that were disappointed that the deciding game was put over until last night.

“We came out and slaughtered them, and have a lot of momentum,” Tickle pointed out.

“Everybody is ready to play.”

Powell said he would have preferred to continue and play the second game, but added, “we have tomorrow.” 

Post 8 pounded Big Island Post 217 with eight hits and took advantage of eight Big Island errors in turning the tables on the team that it had lost to on Saturday in the second round of the tournament.

Powell and Will Harris went 2-3 at the plate, with Dustin Crews, Tickle, Seth Elliott and Drew Link each chipping in a hit.

Post 8 also got a solid performance on the mound from hurler Shane Bousman. Bousman yielded seven scattered hits, walked three batters and struck out two in his five innings of work. Only one of Big Island Post 217’s pair of runs was an earned run.

Big Island Post 217 was led offensively by Matt Bates. Bates was a perfect 3-3 at the plate, with his night including a leadoff triple that led to the one run Big Island Post 217 scored in the top of the first inning to take the early lead in the game.