PDT Sports Writer
CHILLICOTHE —A lot has happened since June 3, just ask the coaches for Portsmouth Post 23 and Circleville Post 134.
On that Sunday, the two teams squared off at Ashville Teays Valley High School in a doubleheader to start their respective American Legion seasons. Tonight it’s fitting the two squads will play each other to punch a ticket to next week’s state tournament, in the same exact scenerio that took place a year ago with Circleville advancing to Lancaster.
The rematch became possible Monday after Post 23 eliminated Hillsboro Post 129 13-3 in eight innings at VA Memorial Stadium. While the Panthers just need to win one of the two contests tonight, Post 23 needs to sweep both games in order to advance.
In Monday’s contest, Post 129 got off to a quick 2-0 lead against Post 23 starter Wade Martin before his team could get its first hacks off Joe Wilson. In the bottom half of the first, Post 23 evened the game at 2-2 thanks to consistent hitting at the top of the order.
Between leadoff hitter Tyler Noel (5-for-6), Alex Shears (4-for-5) and Patrick Riehl (4-for-5), they combined for 13 of the team’s 17 hits off Post 129 pitching. Despite going 1-for-2, Branon said was pleased with Austin Boyer at the plate while hitting behind Noel.
Post 23 took the lead for good in the bottom of the second when Austin Boyer drove in Tas Shupert and Shears scored Noel in a span of six pitches.
From that point forward, the only damage Martin allowed en route to his fifth victory in as many decisions was a Bryce Beam RBI single in the fourth that scored Nathaniel Miller. Martin went the distance, striking out five batters and going exactly 100 pitches despite taking a line drive off the leg in the fourth inning.
The flood gates opened in the last three innings as Post 23 scored eight to trigger the 10-run mercy rule. Now the goal is for Post 23 to avenge its three losses to Post 134 (3-2, 6-0 and 2-1).
“Somehow we’ve got to create some runs, one run is not going to do it,” Branon said.
First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 242, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Post 129 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 — 3 9 5
Post 23 2 2 0 0 1 3 3 2 — 13 17 0
Post 129 — Wilson 1-3 (BB, R), Gricgo 2-4 (3B, RBI, R), Snyder 1-3 (2B, BB, RBI), Miller 1-4 (R), Taggert 2-3, Beam 1-3 (RBI), Carey 1-3.
Post 23 — Noel 5-6 (2B, 2 RBI, 4 R), Boyer 1-2 (BB, HBP, SAC, RBI, 2 R), Shears 4-5 (2B, 3 RBI, 2 R), Riehl 4-5 (2B, 2 RBI), Hartley 1-4 (SAC, 2 RBI), Martin 0-5 (R), Shupert 1-5 (2B, 2 R), Bailey 1-4 (2B, BB, 2 R).
W — Martin (5-0)
L — J. Wilson (n/a)
Records — Post 129 19-27; Post 23 32-15.