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Post 8 takes win in exhibition opener

For much of Wednesday’s season-opener, the South Boston American Legion Post 8 baseball team was rather dormant.

But, when Post 8 woke up in the bottom of the sixth inning it woke up with plenty of energy.

Trailing 2-1, Post 8 rallied for five runs to take a 6-2 lead and then fended off a two-run rally from the Tri-Cities Rivercats of Eden, N.C., to claim a 6-4 win.

“We were just slow getting started,” remarked Post 8 Head Coach Jody Nelson.

“Offensively we were too aggressive early in the game. We didn’t see nearly enough pitches. We got mixed up on some signs and made some bonehead moves at the plate, but it all worked out in the end.”

Post 8 got its five-run sixth-inning rally started with Will Harris reaching base on an error. Jacob McKinney followed with a single that allowed Harris to reach third base. When the Rivercats made a throw to third base in an attempt to nail Harris, McKinney scampered to second base to put both in scoring position.

The Rivercats then walked Post 8 catcher Michael Watts, who had burned them with a double in both of his first two trips to the plate. Javon Smith was struck by a pitch to force in Harris to deadlock the game at 2-2.

Colby Grissom followed with a two-RBI single that put Post 8 on top 4-2. Tripp Bennett grounded out, but Smith scored to give Post 8 a 5-2 lead. Kashawn Hilliard, who played for Bluestone High School this spring, followed with a double to score Grissom to give Post 8 a four-run cushion at 6-2.

The Rivercats made a run at Post 8 in the top of the seventh inning, using a leadopff double, a walk and a short hard-to-play hit just over the Post 8 first baseman’s head along the foul line to produce two runs and make it a 6-4 game with nobody out.

Despite managing to load the sacks with two outs, the Rivercats couldn’t muster any more runs as Bennett got the final out of the game with a strikeout.

The Rivercats took the early lead with a run in the top of the first inning to go up 1-0. Post 8 responded in the bottom half of the inning with a leadoff double by Watts, who later scored when Grissom lofted a long fly ball to centerfield, to make the score 1-1.

It was in the top of the fourth inning that the Rivercats scored their second run of the game, a run that for a good while, looked like was going to hold up.

Post 8 had eight hits in the game with Watts and Hilliard leading the team with two hits each.

Kelonte Gutrich, Harris, McKinney and Grissom each had a hit. Grissom had two RBIs in the game.

Post 8 hurlers Andrew Abbott, Hilliard, Tanner Bennett and Tripp Bennett combined to hold the Rivercats to five hits in the game. Between the four pitchers, they struck out three batters and yielded eight walks.