CHERRYVILLEâ€”Even though the American Legion baseball season is just now getting cranked up, Sunday night`s Gaston Braves-Cherryville game was played with a sense of urgency.
Both teams went at it as if they were in the deciding game of a best-of-seven playoff series.
So it was somehow appropriate that the contest ended on a dramatic note. With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, Brock Alexander singled up the middle to drive in Paul Finger with the winning run in a 7-6 Cherryville victory.
Post 100 moved to 3-2 overall and evened its Area Four-Eastern Division record at 1-1.
“Being 1-1 is tremendously better than 0-2 going into a two-day layoff,” said Post 100 coach Bobby Reynolds. “We were 0-1 going in, and the top eight make the playoffs, so every win on that left hand of the column is pretty important right now.”
The coaching strategy certainly reflected the game`s importance. The Braves (1-2) threw three of their top four pitchers at Cherryville, and Reynolds countered with two of his best, righthanders Wayne McDonald and Steven “Red” Justice.
“They were going after this game big-time too,” Reynolds said. “Both teams played hard, and it`s a shame somebody had to lose.”
Mitch Harris, the third Braves hurler of the night, yielded the sharp single through the middle that broke the 6-6 tie. Alexander`s clutch hit followed hits by Finger and Josh Glover and a walk to Dylan Anthony.
Harris was one batter away from pitching out of trouble when Alexander connected on the first pitch to end the game. The hit capped a 3-for-6 night for Alexander, who also doubled twice and drove in two runs.
Cherryville rocked Braves starter Michael Raymond for three runs on three hits in the first inning, but the Braves chipped away and went ahead 6-5 with three runs in the top of the fifth.
Post 100 pulled even in the bottom of the fifth on Bo Bridges` RBI single to right field.
Justice relieved McDonald in the fifth and gave up two RBI singles, but settled down after that to pitch shutout ball over the last four innings. He struck out nine in four and two-third innings of work.
Cherryville outhit the Braves 15-13, and all nine Post 100 starters hit safely. At the bottom of the order, Daniel Schronce was productive with two doubles in three at-bats with a RBI.
Aaron Horne and Justin Moore had three hits each for the Braves.
Post 100 notes: Reynolds is in for a busy week, coaching the Legion team and also guiding his East Rutherford squad in a best-of-three series for the Western N.C. 2A championship and state finals berth. East Rutherford leads the series 1-0. … Five high schools were represented in Post 100`s starting lineup Sunday: West Lincoln, Lincolnton, Burns, Cherryville and Kings Mountain. … The Cherryville Legion B team has a 4-2 record through six games.
Cherryville 12, Hickory 1â€”At Buck Fraley Field, Alexander`s walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning ended the game on the 10-run mercy rule. Alexander`s blast sailed over the left field fence and landed in City Memorial Cemetary.
Post 100 scored seven runs in the second inning to take control.
Dylan Anthony went 3-for-4 to lead an 11-hit Cherryville attack. Alexander, Finger and Justin Keever had two hits each, and Keever scored three runs.
Chris Cook and Zac Koehler combined on a four-hitter for Post 100. Cook allowed one hit through four innings, and Koehler scattered three hits over the final three frames. Clay Smith was the losing Hickory pitcher.
Huntersville 12, Cherryville 8–Host Huntersville used one big inning, an eight-run outburst in the third, and Post 100 errors to get the win. No other details were available.
Asheboro at Cherryville
Cherryville at Pineville
Lake Norman at Cherryville
Gastonia at Cherryvilleby Amy Wadsworth