The center fielder misplayed a fly ball in the top of the third inning and allowed a run to score. In the bottom half of the frame, Dwyer led off with a rocket to his fielding position and landed at third with a stand-up triple.
“He's a Valley kid and Valley kids know how to play the game,” Post 23 coach Jack Branon said. “He's a talented kid, didn't get to play a whole lot in high school but he's a talented kid and he's going to be a major factor for us as the season goes on. We want him to feel comfortable at the plate, he just stroked the ball and he hit a couple other balls hard.”
The hit would start a nine-run barrage by Post 23 in the bottom of the third en route to a 14-3 win in five innings, completing a two-game sweep over Post 39 in American Legion baseball action.
“I thought everybody contributed,” Branon said. “In one inning, we scored nine runs...and we scored most of those before two outs.”
Post 23, which pounded out 15 hits in game one, had 14 in game two and knocked Post 39 Ryan Taylor out of the game after two-plus innings of work. Branon was glad to see his team's offensive spurt this early in the season.
“The big thing I was pleased with that (second) game was we hit the ball well with two strikes,” Branon said. “We had a lot of two-strike hits and just taking the ball back through the middle. We had guys with good approaches at the plate.”
The top three hitters for Post 23 – Alex Holcomb, David Shultz and Anthony Knittel – reached base safely either by hit or walk on 10 of 12 opportunities at the plate.
“Alex, Shultzy and Knittel, you expect that out of them,” Branon said.
The hitting was more than enough for Post 23 starter Nathan Burchett, who scattered three hits while striking out six and walking two. Although Burchett allowed two in the third, he was able to bounce back.
“The thing that he told me is that it's great to have the great defense behind him, too,” Branon said. “He's thrilled to be in a situation that he's in where he's got guys who will play behind him and it's a team effort.”
Post 23 will try to improve its record Saturday with a home doubleheader against Circleville Post 134. Post 134 ended Post 23's season last year.
“They've got some good players in that area, they've got some good people coming out of those schools,” Branon said. “...They're going to be a very formidable team.”
CODY LEIST can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (740) 353-3101 ext. 242.
Post 39 0 0 2 0 1 – 3 3 0
Post 23 1 3 9 1 x – 14 14 2
Post 39 – Rantham 0-3(R), R. Taylor 1-2, Cotterill 0-1 (1 R), J. Shook 2-3 (2 RBI), Zuspan 0-1 (BB), Duvall 0-1 (BB, R).
Post 23 – Holcomb 2-2 (2 BB, 3 R), Shultz 1-2 (2 BB, 3 RBI, R), Knittel 2-3 (2B, BB, 4 RBI, 2 R), Hartley 1-4, Ratcliff 2-3 (BB, 2 RBI, R), Dwyer 1-3 (3B, BB, 2 R), Riehl 3-3 (HBP, RBI, 2 R), Burchett 2-3 (BB, 2 RBI, 2 R), Bailey 0-2 (BB, R).
WP – Burchett (1-0)
LP – Taylor (0-1)
Records – Post 39 0-2; Post 23 2-0.