THOMASVILLE – High Point Post 87 had opportunities, but it couldn’t quite come through.
The HiToms scored a late run to force extra innings, but couldn’t match Randolph Post 45 from there in falling 4-2 in nine innings Tuesday in American Legion baseball Tuesday night at Finch Field.
“It was very frustrating,” Post 87 coach Rob Shore said, “because through the first six innings they’d walked 11 of us and we had one hit. We had people in scoring position almost every inning and we couldn’t get that big hit. We were striking out with guys on third when we needed to get the ball to the outfield.
“It was frustrating to watch, but I was super excited about the way (starting pitcher) Eli Crump pitched. He was absolutely outstanding and he was outstanding in his last outing. I just hate that we couldn’t get him a win and we couldn’t scratch across some other runs.”
The HiToms (4-1 overall, 1-1 conference) scored the tying run on an infield error with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. And they had a runner on third base with one out in the eighth but couldn’t plate that one run.
Eventually, Randolph – following a double and an error, plus a walk and defensive indifference – put runners on second and third in the top of the ninth. An RBI single up the middle and a sacrifice fly gave Post 45 a 4-2 lead.
Post 87 got a two-out single by Chase Wade in the bottom half, but a groundout ended the game. The HiToms, who totaled three hits for the game, finished the game 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position.
“You can’t show up to the ballpark and think, as a coach, you’re going to tear the cover off the ball every single time,” Shore said. “But we at least need to take advantage of opportunities. Tonight we didn’t need to hit the ball off the wall. All we needed to do was get a big hit here, get a bunt down there, a sac fly there.
“Just something to get a few more runs across, and we couldn’t do it. Great job by them, though – they were effectively wild. A lot of times you have a pitcher who’s walking a lot of guys but also getting guys out on two or three pitches. That worked for them and they played defense behind him.”
Walker Bethune had a hit and an RBI to lead Post 87, who drew 13 walks and advanced on five wild pitches. Gavin Sentell and Wade each added a hit as the HiToms had runners in scoring position in all but two innings.
Wade, taking the loss, pitched 2.1 innings before departing with one out and two on in the ninth following a double up the right-field line that the outfielder bobbled, allowing the runner to reach third, and Post 45 in position to score.
Sentell then came on in relief, but Randolph (4-1) laced a single just beyond the reach of the second baseman’s glove to score one run and added another run on a sacrifice fly to lead 4-2.
“They’re always well-coached and a really good team,” Shore said. “It seems like every time we play them, it’s always a tight ballgame. … It’s situational hitting and selective pitches. I felt like when we had guys on, we were letting the good ones go and swinging at ones we didn’t need to.
“And sometimes kids get amped up and are trying to do too much. You have to understand the situation – with a runner at third base, I don’t need to hit the ball over the fence; I just need to get it in the outfield. That was the difference in the game.”
Post 45 – which got two hits and two RBIs from Tatum Marsh, who also got the pitching win in relief – led in the first on a lead off walk and RBI triple. High Point drew even in the second on a walk, wild pitch and RBI single by Bethune.
Randolph took back the lead in the top of the seventh on a walk, wild pitch, groundout and sacrifice fly. But Post 87 answered in the bottom half with a one-out single, followed by a wild pitch and an infield bobble and wild throw.
The HiToms, after a day off today, play again Thursday at home against Kannapolis.
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RANDOLPH POST 45 4, HIGH POINT POST 87 2
RC POST 45 100 000 102 – 4 5 2
HP POST 87 010 000 100 – 2 3 4
WP – Tatum Marsh (5IP, 5K, 5BB, 2H, 1R, 0ER, 4WP); LP – Wade (2.1IP, 3K, 4BB, 1H, 3R, 2ER, WP)
Leading hitters – Randolph: Tatum Marsh (2-3, SF, 2RBI), Cole (0-4, SF, RBI), Davis (1-4, 3B, RBI), Tanner Marsh (1-3, 2B), Jackson (1-4, 2B); High Point: Bethune (1-4, RBI), Sentell (1-2), Wade (1-3)