CHERRYVILLE–Cherryville and Denver were two teams badly in need of a win going into Sunday night`s Area Four-Eastern Division American Legion matchup.
Denver had lost five division games in a row after a 3-0 start, and Cherryville was likewise in a five-game tailspin that included four division losses.
The largest crowd of the season at Fraley Field turned out to see which team would break out of the doldrums first.
As things turned out, Cherryville was the team that finally got a break. Post 100 was leading 6-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning when the game was interrupted by rain.
After a 45-minute wait, the officials ruled the field unplayable and Cherryville`s losing streak was history.
“We will take a win anyway we can get it,” Post 100 coach Bobby Dale Reynolds said. “I would hate to start back a ballgame in bad conditions and let that determine the outcome.”
Officials ordered the teams off the field with one out in the bottom of the fifth. It didn`t take long for puddles to form on an infield already saturated from a rainout Friday night.
Before the rains came, Post 100 opened up a 6-0 lead through four innings, and Denver came back with three runs in the top of the fifth.
Post 455â€™s Alex Loftin and Post 100â€™s Dylan Anthony were leading hitters in Sundayâ€™s nightâ€™s rivalry game. Chris Dean / LTN Photo
“I felt like we would have scored some more runs, but that`s the way it goes.” Post 455 coach Bruce Bolick said.
Cliff Piercy, who had only five official at-bats going into the game, hit a three-run homer in the third inning to get Cherryville started. Post 100 then scored three more in the fourth to chase Denver starting pitcher Mitchell Lynch.
Post 455 got back in the game in the top of the fifth, forcing Reynolds to yank starter Ryan Rhodes in favor of Daniel Styers, the ace of Bessemer City`s state 1A semifinalist this season.
Reynolds was glad to see a spark on offense from a team that saw its batting average dip nearly a hundred points in the course of a week.
“That was a big knock there by Piercy. When you have a hard time scoring runs, a three-run home run is very pleasing,” Reynolds said.
Piercy`s shot over the left field fence followed back-to-back singles by Dylan Anthony and Paul Finger to lead off the inning.
In the fourth inning, Piercy drove in another run with a groundout, Kyle Martin doubled to the fence in left to make the score 5-0, and Steven Hoyle singled through the right side of the infield to plate another run.
In the top of the fifth, Matt Kuster, Dustin Hester, Alex Loftin and Colby Burgin strung together consecutive hits to chase Rhodes. Styers came on in relief with one out and a 6-1 lead, but he hit two batters with pitches before finally getting out of the inning.
Rhodes picked up the pitching win in the rain-shortened game, going four and one-third innings. He gave up six hits and walked one.
Anthony and Finger each went 2-for-3 for Cherryville. For Denver, Loftin was 2-for-2 and Burgin went 2-for-3 with a RBI.
The outcome left Post 100 with a 2-4 division record, 6-6 overall. Denver is 3-6 in the division and 4-6 overall.
In Saturday night action, Denver lost 18-8 to Pineville and Cherryville fell to Kings Mountain 4-3 in 10 innings.
In the Cherryville-Kings Mountain game, played at Fraley Field, Cody Barrett singled in the game-winning run in the top of the 10th inning to give Kings Mountain its sixth straight win.
Chris Cook was the losing pitcher in relief. After giving up back-to-back walks to open the 10th, the lefthander was one out away from escaping when Barrett singled sharply to left to score Josh Hendricks from third.
Cherryville had runners at first and second with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, but the game ended when pinch runner Tripp McSwain was thrown out trying to steal third base.
Denver 000 03â€”3 6 2
Cville 003 3xâ€”6 7 2
Lynch, Alexander (4) and Howard. Rhodes, Styers (5) and Henderson. W–Rhodes. L–Lynch. HRs, Cherryville, Piercy.
KM 000 210 000 1â€”4 9 2
Cville 000 002 100 0â€”3 10 1
Bell, Wilson (6), Hall (8) and Hendricks. Justice, Henderson (8), Cook (8) and Glover. W–Hall. L–Cook. HRs, Kings Mountain, Hendricks.
by Mike Powell