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Big week shaping up for Post 8 after split with Roanoke

With its weekend splits against Martinsville Post 42 and Roanoke Post 3, this week is shaping up as a big one for the South Boston American Legion Post 8 Junior Legion baseball team.

Post 8, now 4-4 overall and 2-1 in its division in District 9 play, faces a busy four-game week headlined by District 9 division games against Lynchburg Post 16 Red Tuesday in Lynchburg and here on Friday.

On Saturday, Post 8 goes on the road for a doubleheader against Alleghany Post 4 at Alleghany High School.

“We’ve got an interesting week coming up,” South Boston Post 8 Head Coach Jody Nelson noted after his team’s split in a Saturday doubleheader against Roanoke Post 3 at Halifax County High School.

“If we can sweep Lynchburg, we will be in really good shape. Right now we’re 2-1 in the district, and I feel like we’re still in good shape. I was expecting we would have at least one loss in the district, just because this district is so competitive. I think even two losses in the district will still keep you pretty close to the top. We’ve still got a lot of baseball to play.”

After Post 8 lost its division lead in District 9 play with Friday’s split against Martinsville Post 42, it had another tough day Saturday with a split of a doubleheader against Roanoke Post 3.

In Saturday’s opener, Post 8 trailed 7-0 after three and a half innings before a late rally fell short, leaving the team to shoulder a 7-4 loss. Post 8 rebounded in a big way in the second game, downing Roanoke Post 3 18-8 in a game stopped after six innings under a slaughter rule.

“I almost feel like Charles Dickens,” Nelson said, pointing to Dickens’ book  ‘A Tale Of Two Cities.’

“Just like Friday night, this was a tale of two completely different games.”

Post 8 trailed 7-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning of the first game. A rally triggered by a leadoff double from Will Harris gave Post 8 three runs. Following Harris’ double, Jacob McKinney reached base on an error that allowed Harris to score. Tripp Bennett followed with a run-scoring triple and scored when Tyler Duffer reached base on an error.

A run in the fifth inning that resulted when Jake Hughes reached base on an error and later scored on a wild pitch brought Post 8 to within three runs at 7-4. 

The key to the game was the bottom of the sixth inning, an inning in which Post 8 loaded the bases with no out, but failed to score. From there, Roanoke Post 3 held on for the three-run win.

“We just didn’t show up,” Nelson pointed out.

“What’s killing us as far as allowing runs is walks and mental mistakes, simple plays our guys should make, ground balls hit right at them and them making an errant throw, guys just not thinking ahead of time.”

Post 8 had two hits in the game, one from Harris and one from Bennett. Roanoke Post 3 had nine hits with Josh Greenway leading the team with three hits.

It was all South Boston Post 8 in the second game.

South Boston broke the game open with seven runs in the bottom of the second inning to take a 7-0 lead. A run-scoring double from Kashawn Hilliard, a two-RBI double from Kelonte Gutrich and a run-scoring hit from Tyler Duffer helped key the rally.

Roanoke Post 3 rallied to make it a one-run game at 9-8 after scoring five runs in the top of the fourth inning, but Post 8 answered with five runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 14-8 lead with the help of a run-scoring hit by Harris and a two-RBI double from Tanner Bennett.

South Boston put itself over the top with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to end the game with an 18-8 win.

Post 8 had 14 hits in the contest, with Harris and Matt Ratliff leading the team with three hits each. Gutrich, Duffer and Hilliard had two hits each. Tripp Bennett and Tanner Bennett each chipped in a hit.

Roanoke Post 3 had 10 hits in the game, with Riley Assaid, Greenway and Alex Harlow each getting two hits in the contest to lead the Roanoke offense.