Shockers move to 8-0 overall, sweep weekend set

Justin Helton, family honored on Sat.

By Kevin Colley -

Saturday (6/9)

American Legion Baseball

Waverly Post 142 Shockers 1, Jackson Post 81 0

Behind another stellar complete game performance from Cade Powell and an RBI from the West Sider, the Waverly Post 142 Shockers were able to start play off in a positive manner for the second weekend in a row as Post 142 claimed a 1-0 victory over Jackson Post 81 in a single contest that was played at 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon in Waverly.

Powell, who collected a complete game effort on the hill, struck out 10 batters and only walked one in an excellent two-hit showing as the junior-to-be was dialed in from the outset. A walk by Tanner Cunningham and back-to-back singles by Luke Lindamood and Kannon Pack allowed Powell to drive in Cunningham for the game’s only run in the third inning of action.

“Cade Powell was locked in on the hill,” Waverly Post 142 head coach Jonathan Teeters said. “Today’s game was for Justin, and all of those who have served and are serving this great country. Cade is responsible for the jersey to and from each game, there’s no doubt in my mind Justin was looking down on him today with a smile on his face. I am very proud of Cade and the work he puts in. He’s reaping what he sows.”

As strong as Post 142 played during the contest, however, the main attention wasn’t about the Shockers’ play on the field. Since Saturday was the annual Veterans’ Appreciation Game, the unit decided to honor Pike County native Justin Helton, who was killed in active duty in Operation Enduring Freedom on June 9, 2014 in Afghanistan. Helton, who served as a Sargent in the United States Army, was a 2006 graduate of Eastern High School in Beaver and was a member of the 192nd Ordinance Battalion and the 18th Ordinance Company out of Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

“At the beginning of the season, the team decided to honor a fallen soldier by hanging a jersey at each of our games,” Teeters said. “They selected Justin Helton, so each game we have the jersey hanging in our dugout along with a short bio of him. (Saturday) happened to be the four-year anniversary that he gave his life for this great country. It just so happens that we were able to reach out to his family and friends and have them come to the ceremony. They were able to talk to the team before the game, it was something I will and the team won’t ever forget. We certainly appreciate them sharing his story and being there with us today to honor him.”

Behind Powell, who put together an outstanding effort in his own right, the Shockers certainly did Helton’s family proud by not committing a single error on the day, which allowed Post 142 to honor Helton, his family, and the vets in attendance in a proper manner with the victory.

“We had a great turnout,” Teeters said of the Veterans Appreciation Game. “The team is very appreciative of all of those who have served and are currently serving this great country we live in. It is always an honor and privilege to have the veterans come out and be recognized with a first pitch. I want to thank all of the veterans today for coming and being recognized. Without these great people, we wouldn’t have the freedoms that we do today. It was a gorgeous day to honor them and to cap it off with a win was even better. I am very proud of our team and effort.”

Cunningham (walk, run scored), Lindamood (1-for-1) and Pack (1-for-2) were the leaders from an offensive standpoint for Post 142.

Sunday (6/10)

Game 1

Waverly Post 142 Shockers 8, Athens Post 21 3

After falling behind by a 3-0 tally through an inning and a half of action, the Waverly Post 142 Shockers used eight unanswered runs, including six in the third inning alone, to turn the opening game of a doubleheader against Athens Post 21 on its heels in an 8-3 victory on Sunday evening in Waverly.

When singles by Kannon Pack and Marty Knittel, along with a pitch that was worn by Luke Lindamood, allowed Post 142 to load the bases, Cade Powell overcame a well-turned play by Post 21 two batters later by driving in Knittel, his fellow high school teammate, with a single of his own.

Then, in the third inning of action, Post 142 really got the ball rolling.

After walks by Ian Gillen and Nate Keiser, along with a single by Tanner Cunningham, allowed the Shockers to load the bases, Knittel walked to score Gillen and Lindamood was hit by a pitch, which scored Keiser and knotted the game at three apiece. RBI singles by Pack and Jake Reed were followed by a two-RBI double from Powell as Waverly capped off the six-run inning in style and took a 7-3 advantage as a result. Singles by Knittel and Lindamood then set up the final run-scoring hit in the fourth inning, which was an RBI double from Pack that scored Knittel.

For the contest, Cunningham, Knittel, Pack, Reed, and Powell all finished with multi-hit outings, with Pack going 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI, and a run scored and surviving an early onslaught from the Post 21 offense on the hill en route to accumulating five innings on the mound and allowing just four hits while surrendering no earned runs after the second inning in the victory. Powell continued his red-hot pace by going 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI, while fellow Scioto County hands Cunningham and Knittel did much the same by going 2-for-4 with a run scored and 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, and three runs scored on the evening.

Gillen (two walks, run scored), Keiser (two walks, run scored), and Talon Osborne, who threw two scoreless innings in relief and scored a run, all contributed heavily to the winning output.

“Kannon knocked some rust off early but was able to settle in around the third inning,” Teeters said. “He threw the ball well enough to keep us in the game. Talon came in firing and was able to seal it up for us.”

Game 2

Waverly Post 142 Shockers 10, Athens Post 21 9 (F/8)

After the victory in Game 1, the Shockers committed seven errors in the final game of the doubleheader against Post 21, but, despite facing an 8-3 deficit, rallied back to take home a thrilling walkoff victory in eight innings via a 10-9 tally on Sunday evening in Waverly.

Initially, Post 142 struck with the opening salvo as Kannon Pack and Jake Reed each singled with one out, and, with two out, a four-pitch walk by Gillen loaded the bases for Nate Keiser, who doubled to center field to score Pack and Reed. The Scioto County contingent then followed as back-to-back singles by Tanner Cunningham and Marty Knittel — the latter being of the RBI variety — led to Waverly taking a 3-0 advantage after two innings of play.

Misplays over the next four frames, however, allowed Post 21 to turn the tables on Waverly. By the bottom of the sixth inning, Athens had taken advantage of four Waverly misfires and turned them into eight unanswered runs as the Shockers trailed by an 8-3 margin.

But as Post 142 has done throughout the American Legion season, Waverly never gave up.

After a leadoff double by Pack, an error on a ground ball and a sacrifice bunt allowed Pack and Reed to move into scoring position, and another walk by Gillen loaded the bases with one out. When Keiser walked to cut the lead to 8-4, Cunningham and Knittel each followed with RBI fielder’s choices that cut the Post 21 lead to 8-6. Talon Osborne followed with a critical single to left to score Cunningham, and Luke Lindamood repeated the poise he showed throughout the high school season at Minford by launching a double to center to score Osborne and Knittel as Post 142 took the lead.

While Athens ultimately answered with a run in the top half of the seventh, it was clear that the Shockers had turned the contest on its heels. And in the bottom of the eighth inning, Waverly wasted no time taking advantage as Osborne reached on a hit by pitch, then moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Lindamood. A single by Pack and a walk by Reed then loaded the bases for Cade Powell, who did as he had done all weekend and came up large with a huge sacrifice fly to score Osborne and win the game in walkoff fashion.

“We weren’t as focused as we should have been the second game,” Teeters said. “These are the long hot days of summer and it’s easy to get off track. With that being said, I am very proud of our team for not folding and finding a way to get the win.”

For the contest, Pack led the way by going 4-for-5 with a double and two runs scored, while Keiser (2-for-3, double, walk, three RBI) and Reed (2-for-4, walk, two runs scored) all contributed to the cause. Lindamood (1-for-4, double, two RBI), Knittel (1-for-5, two RBI, run scored), Powell (1-for-3, sacrifice fly, RBI), Cunningham (1-for-4, walk, RBI, run scored), Gillen (1-for-2, two walks, two runs scored), and Osborne (1-for-4, RBI, two runs scored) all contributed to the winning effort. Reed threw an inning of scoreless relief in the eighth en route to obtaining his first winning decision of the year.

“We had a lot of guys step up today,” Teeters said. “We will enjoy this and be ready for a big league game on Tuesday against Portsmouth.”

Post 142 will play host to Post 23 on Tuesday evening at 5 p.m. at Waverly High School in Waverly.

Justin Helton, family honored on Sat.

By Kevin Colley