Post 23 held off a late rally by the Midwest Mules, based out of Richland, Ill., and came away with a 7-4 win Friday afternoon.
“Anytime you come in here and you can get any kind of win, it’s a big plus for these guys,” Post 23 coach Jack Branon said. “...We offensively created some situations for ourselves and got some key hits.”
Post 23 picked up a big pitching performance from starter Nathan Burchett. The Clay graduate went 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits for his third victory in as many decisions this season. On 137 pitches, Burchett fanned five but walked six.
“Nate just threw extremely well,” Branon said. “He’d get people on base and he’d just make a big pitch after big pitch after big pitch. He was in command out there.”
Burchett received offensive support from Anthony Knittel and Brett Hood as each went 3-for-4 in the game.
“They’re good hitters,” Branon said. “Brett’s struggled a little bit recently and we moved him in the batting order a little bit, moved him to a different spot. He’s responded.
“Anthony has struggled a little bit, starting to come around. Maybe four or five games ago, Anthony’s started coming around for us and we expect Anthony to be a .420, .430 hitter before it’s all over.”
Tate Bailey relieved Burchett in the seventh with two runners on and earned his second save of the campaign. Bailey loaded the bases, which was a cause for concern, but was able to get out of the jam.
One thing Branon preached about was getting ahead early. Unlike the two games Thursday, Post 23 drew first blood in the top of the second when a Patrick Riehl single drove in Knittel.
“It’s so important on any level to break out on top,” Branon said. “Major League managers will tell you that, Little League coaches will tell you that. It’s just so important to get out on top, get a lead and make them chase you.”
The big offensive outburst for Post 23 came in the next inning. in all, Post 23 sent nine batters to the plate, collected five hits and scored four runs off Mules starter Cale George. Of the five hits in the frame, three went for doubles.
“Coach Lance Davis got with them last night and had a little bit of a session, encouraging them to play a little bit harder,” Branon said. “Encouraging them just to stay on top of the game and not let up. He had them ready to play.”
CODY LEIST can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at (740) 353-3101 ext. 242.
Post 230 1 40 2 00—7 11 3
Midwest Mules0 0 11 0 02—4 8 2
Post 23 — Boyer 0-3 (RBI), Knittel 3-4 (2 R), Hartley 2-2 (2 BB, 2 R), Dwyer 1-3 (2B, HBP, RBI, R), Riehl 2-3 (BB, R), Ratcliff 1-2 (2B, RBI), Hall 0-1 (HBP, RBI), Hood 3-4 (2B, HBP, SB, R).
Midwest Mules — Lingol 1-4 (2B, SB, RBI), George 0-3 (BB), Ingold 1-4 (SB), Fortner 0-4 (R), Maton 2-4 (2B, RBI), C. Daily 1-3 (2B, BB, RBI, R), Kuper 2-2 (2 BB), Pfeiffer 1-4 (SB), Lartonoix 0-1 (3 BB, R).
WP — Burchett (3-0)
LP — George (0-1)
Records — Post 23 14-5; Midwest Mules 0-6-1.