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Post 8 wins district opener

Colby Grissom knew a good pitch was going to come his way. He just had to hit it.

He did.

Grissom poked a short walk-off single just over the infield in the bottom of the eighth inning to plate Jake Hughes and give South Boston American Legion Post 8 a 6-5 win over Big Island Post 217 Monday night at Halifax County High School.

“I was a little nervous, but I got it together and pulled it on through,” Grissom said after the game-winning two-out bases-loaded hit that gave Post 8 a win in its District 9 opener.

“It was good enough to get the run in.”

The pitch Grissom hit was a fastball on the outside corner of the plate.

“I hadn’t seen it (the outside fastball) off of him (the Big Island Post 217 pitcher) before, but I was looking for that pitch because he was behind in the count,” Grissom explained.

“He had to bring a good strike in.”

Post 8 Head Coach Jody Nelson said Grissom was due for a big hit. 

“Last week, he hit the ball real hard and just couldn’t get anything cooking,” Nelson pointed out.

“Colby just missed it all night. He hit a bunch of balls hard. He was right on top of it.”

Monday night’s win was a big one for Post 8. Not only was it a win in the team’s district opener, it was a win over the team that beat Post 8 in last season’s district championship game and knocked it out of a state tournament berth.

“This was big tonight,” Nelson said.

“You always want to open district play with a win. Big Island took us out in the district championship game last year. We wanted this one, if for nothing else a little revenge for last year.”

Post 8 (2-1 overall), squandered a four-run lead as Big Island Post 217 rallied to tie the game at 5-5 in the top of the seventh inning. The game continued into extra innings, with Post 8 breaking the tie and getting the win in the eighth inning.

After Hughes smacked a double with one out, Big Island Post 8 elected to intentionally walk Tristan Howerton, who had come up with a hit in his previous trip to the plate in the sixth inning.

Matthew Ratliff, who had entered the game at second base in Will Harris’ spot, was retired on an unassisted play by the Big Island Post 217 first baseman that allowed Hughes and Howerton to advance.

Again looking to play percentages, Big Island Post 217 intentionally walked Michael Watts in what was Watts’ fifth walk of the night. That set the stage for Grissom’s game-winning hit.

Post 8 took the early lead with four runs in the bottom of the third inning. The first run scored when Hughes popped up a bunt just over the Big Island Post 217 pitcher’s head and a bad throw to third base in an attempt to nab Ryan Powell allowed Powell to score.

A second run scored when Harris reached base on an error. Post 8 took a 3-0 lead when Grissom grounded out to second base, allowing a run to score. An RBI single by Jacob McKinney put Post 8 up 4-0.

Another run in the bottom of the fourth inning gave Post 8 a five-run cushion. It didn’t last long, however, as Big Island scored five unanswered runs to tie the game and send the game into an extra inning.

Post 8 had seven hits in the game, with Hughes and Jacob McKinney leading the team with two hits each. Howerton, Grissom and Powell each had one hit.

Big Island Post 217 had nine hits in the game, with C. Crouch leading the team with three hits.