If you can’t deliver a base hit, putting the ball in play on the ground is the next best thing. Coaches have been telling their players that for decades.
The last play in Charleston Post 166’s 3-2 victory over visiting Orangeburg Post 4 in an American Legion game on Friday proved them right once again.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh and the winning run on second base, Post 166 pinch hitter Jackson Price rolled one to third base that turned into an adventure. The throw to first base sailed wide and Blake Marrs raced home with the game-winner on the error.
It wasn’t as dramatic as a shot to the gap but the end result was positive.
“A pop up is your worst enemy right there,” Post 166 coach David Horton said. “(Price) put it in play and, of course, they have to catch and throw it and somebody else has to catch it. He didn’t hit a fly ball and it all worked out in our favor. It’s a gift run but we’ll take it.”
Marrs, who finished 2 for 3 with two runs scored, led off the seventh with a hard single to left field and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Josh Davis.
Post 166 improved to 7-2 in League 1 play and leads Hampton, Orangeburg and Manning in the league standings. The game was originally scheduled for Thursday but was rained out.
Post 166’s Sean Hollister earned the win in relief in his first significant action of the season, throwing 2.2 innings. He entered for starter John Shelton with one out in the top of the fifth of a 2-2 game and stranded a runner at third base.
He threw a perfect sixth and allowed only an infield single in the seventh.
“I said you’ve thrown two innings all summer and he said I’ve thrown two pitches,” Horton said. “He made some great pitches to some good hitters. I didn’t have any hesitation putting him out there because of what I’ve seen him do in the bullpen. He throws strikes and his changeup has developed.”
Orangeburg struck first with two runs in the top of the fourth. Shelton retired the first two hitters but walked the next three and Noah Bearden made him pay with a two-run double down the third-base line that just got past a diving Davis’s glove.
Post 166 didn’t have a hit through three innings but broke through against Post 4 starter Hunter Bauer in the bottom of the fourth.
Kris Blanco doubled to lead off and scored on a two-out single by Marrs. The ball got under the left fielder’s glove and Marrs motored around to third.
Davis knocked him in with a single to tie it, 2-2.
Bauer went the distance for Post 4, giving up four hits and one earned run while striking out three batters.
“I tip my hat to him,” Horton said. “He made a bunch of pitches and kept us off balance. He had his offspeed pitches working and they made some plays behind him.”
The win capped a 3-0 week against League 1 foes for Charleston.
On Tuesday, June 18, Post 166 scored three runs in the first inning to give starter Robbie Fleming all the support he needed.
Fleming scattered five hits, walked one and struck out three batters over three innings. Hampton got runners to second and third with no outs in the sixth but Fleming coaxed a pop out on the infield and a pair of ground balls to Price at third base.
“He did a great job of keeping them off balanced,” Horton said. “We played really good defense behind him. It was huge not to allow a run in that situation.”
Shelton recorded the final three outs to earn the save.
At the plate, Marrs had two hits and knocked in a run for Post 166.
A day earlier, Post 166 starter Davis threw all five innings, striking out six batters in a one-hit shutout. He needed 72 pitches and had a good night with his changeup.
At the plate, leadoff hitter Will McGuire and Davis scored three runs each. Davis also knocked in a pair.
Post 166, which plays home games at Cane Bay High School, enters the last week of the league slate with games scheduled at Orangeburg on Monday, June 24, against Hampton on Tuesday, June 25 and at Manning on Thursday, June 27.
Post 166 will be looking to lock in its sixth League 1 title since 2011.