CHILLICOTHE — In the seventh inning, the Shockers trailed 8-0 to a team full of college prospects that they had to three consecutive times. Most teams would have quit.
Post 142 didn’t.
Despite falling behind early in the game, the Shockers responded with six unanswered runs to put a scare into Yeager Post 199. Though Yeager held on for a 8-6 win and eliminated Post 142 from the postseason tournament, it capped one of the best seasons for the team in recent memory.
“We gave it all we had, man,” Teeters said. “We had those guys sweating over there.”
Post 142 finally got on the board in the top of the seventh inning. Jake Henderson, Sky Oliver and Matt Joyce came up with three straight RBI singles to cut the deficit to 8-3.
An inning later, the Shockers loaded the bases again after a Jared Alley single and walks to Garrett Rawlins and Shaun Mersiel. Joe Henderson followed with an RBI single to re-load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate.
Yeager seemed to catch a break, when Oliver bounced a playable ball to shortstop. However, the Portsmouth speedster legged out a single, and Mersiel scored when Joe Henderson induced a rundown and a Yeager error between second and third base. After eight innings, the Shockers had the deficit to 8-6.
“Yep, I did,” Oliver said when asked if he thought his grounder had ended the inning. “But, I saw him bobble it, so I hustled to the base.”
However, Waverly’s comeback proved to be too little, too late. Post 142 went in order in the top of the ninth, and Yeager held on for the Region 5 championship.
“It’s a good step forward for our program,” Teeters said of the season. “We’ve never won (a regional tournament), but this is the first time we’ve been runner-up in 10 or 15 years.”
Just as they did against the Shockers on Wednesday, Yeager Post 199 drew first blood early in the game. Catcher Sam Hauer drove a ball on the first base line for a two-run double to give Post 199 an early day.
Post 142 (22-9) starting pitcher Dylan Shockley would not return for the second inning. Though he stayed in the lineup and took over at first base, Post 142 coach Jonathon Teeters said Shockley — who’s had Tommy John surgery in past — felt “discomfort” in his pitching elbow.
“We weren’t going to risk anything with his future in throwing,” Teeters said.
“It’s just out or so. We’re good. We’ll be alright,” Shockley said.
Waverly High School’s Clayton Howell took over for Shockley in the second inning. Just a sophomore, Howell spent most of the season on the Shockers’ junior team. Thursday’s game marked Howell’s first appearance on the senior squad.
Yeager gave Howell quite a welcoming to the senior circuit. Six of the first seven batters Howell faced recorded a hit — including a two-run double by Zach Vorherr — leading to four Yeager runs and a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the second.
However, Clayton would settle down and keep Yeager scoreless for four straight innings. He finished the day with two strikeouts and just one walk.
“For Clayton to answer the bell like that, that’s all you can ask for,” Teeters said. “For a guy who’s only thrown a year of high school ball and was able to step in…it’s scary what kind of potential he has.”
“I did what I could,” Howell said. “I got a little warmed up in the second inning and did a little bit better.”
Post 199 pitcher and Kent State recruit Jonathon Diefel had no problems working with a six-run lead. He threw seven innings for Yeager, striking out seven Shocker batters.
After the game, Yeager shortstop Kyle Orloff — a University of Indianapolis commit from Cincinnati’s Elder High School — was named the tournament’s MVP. Orloff went 5-for-8 with five runs and three RBIs in two games against the Shockers in the tournament.
Though it ended with a loss, Scioto County natives Shockley, Mersiel, Joyce, Oliver, Seth Jenkins, Jared Alley, Alex Powell, Garrett Carmichael, Garrett Rawlins, Brady Knittel and Hayden Baker left their mark on the Legion Post League.
“There’s always something to learn about baseball, especially with Coach Teeters,” Oliver said. “He teaches us something new every day.”
|Waverly Post 142||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||3||0||—||6||10||2|
|Yeager Post 199||2||4||0||0||0||2||0||0||x||—||8||13||1|
Waverly Post 142 — M. Joyce 1-5 (RBI), D. Shockley 1-3, B. Knittel 1-3, J. Henderson 2-3 (RBI), Ja. Henderson 1-4 (R, RBI), S. Oliver 2-3 (2 RBI), S. Mersiel 0-0 (2 R), J. Alley 1-2, G. Rawlins 0-1 (R)
Yeager Post 199 — J. Ramey 3-4 (3 R), Z. Vorherr 2-4 (2B, 2 R, 3 RBI), K. Orloff 3-5 (2 R, RBI), J. Boeckman 1-5 (2 RBI), S. Hauer 2-4 (2 RBI), S. Smith 1-3, M. Wellbrook 1-3 (R),
W — J. Diefel (7 IP, 3 R, 0 ER, 7 K, 2 BB, 2 H)
L — D. Shockley (1.0 IP, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 K, 0 BB, 3 H)
S — J. Boeckman (1.2 IP, 0 R, 3 K, 0 BB, 2 H)
Records — Waverly Post 142 22-9
Reach Alex Hider at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931 or on Twitter @PDTSportsWriter