CHERRYVILLE–Cherryville Post 100 coach Bobby Dale Reynolds said it was just another night at the ballpark.
But no matter how he characterized it, Reynolds achieved a new milestone in his storied Legion coaching career Sunday night as Post 100 defeated Steele Creek 17-2 in seven innings.
Reynolds recorded his 403th career victory and passed B.E. “Pop” Simmons (Shelby and Rutherford County) as the winningest coach in the history of Area Four.
It was the second milestone in less than a week for Reynolds, who got win No. 400 last Wednesday night at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C.
“Hey, it`s just another ballgame,” said Reynolds, who has coached only two teams in his Legion career, Post 100 and Gastonia Post 23. “You are just as good as your players are.”
Instead of dwelling on the historic moment, Reynolds deflected the attention to his team, which has won 12 in a row and put itself in a position to play Pineville tonight at home for a share of the Area Four-Eastern Division title.
“We set our goal five days ago to try and win out, and if Pineville dropped one to make that game mean a little more. Hopefully we will get a good crowd and have a little pre-playoff atmosphere. Our kids would like to get a piece of that divisional championship,” Reynolds said.
Pineville comes into tonight`s showdown with a 11-3 division record, compared to Cherryville`s 11-4. In the first meeting on June 9 at South Meck, Pineville beat Cherryville 4-3 in 12 innings.
Tonight`s game will close out divisional play for Post 100. Pineville will play its last divisional game Tuesday night at Steele Creek.
If the teams finish in a tie for first place, there will be a coin flip for the division`s No. 1 seed, Reynolds said. The Area Four pairings meeting is Thursday in Hickory.
Some observers figured Reynolds would hold out ace Wayne McDonald to face Pineville tonight. McDonald pitched 10 innings in the game at Charlotte and struck out 12.
However, the righthander from Burns got the starting call against Steele Creek (4-11, 4-11). He worked six innings, giving up two runs and four hits, before calling it a night. Daniel Styers came on to pitch the top of the seventh in a game that mercifully ended early on the 10-run rule.
Reynolds said he went with McDonald in order to give him an extra day`s rest for the start of the Area Four playoffs on July 2. Lefthander Kyle Snyder is expected to start tonight.
“We want to rate some of our pitchers against a good team, and Snyder is one of those. We probably will split that thing up a little and see what happens. The only way to gauge them is to let them throw against a good team,” Reynolds said.
Snyder`s last work came Saturday night in a relief appearance at Steele Creek.
Sunday night, Post 100 (17-6, 11-4) collected a season-high 21 hits and scored in double figures for the sixth time in eight games.
Everyone in the lineup hit the ball, led by Dylan Anthony`s 4-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI.
Steven Hoyle had two doubles and a single in five trips and knocked in two runs, and Paul Finger also went 3-for-5 with two RBI.
First baseman Chris Cook boosted his hit output to nine hits in his last three games with a 2-for-4 night that included two doubles and a RBI.
Evan Wise, Josh Day and Daniel Scronce added two hits each as Post 100 went on six-run scoring binges in the fourth and fifth innings. Cherryville hit four doubles in the fourth inning alone.
In a game in which offense ruled, Finger turned in perhaps the defensive play of Post 100`s season in the fifth inning. Steele Creek`s Jeff Zaney hit a grounder through the middle, but Finger ran the ball down behind second base and in one leaping motion threw to first in time to get the runner.
Nearly every Post 100 fan in the stadium cheered the play.
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Phillips, J. Zaney (4), Rumfelt (5), R. Zaney (6) and Smith, Schipani. McDonald, Styers (7) and Glover, Henderson.
Cherryville 10, Steele Creek 4–At Olympic High School in Charlotte, Chris Cook went 3-for-5 with a RBI to lead the way.
Cook singled in a run as part of a three-run Cherryville third inning and also singled and scored in the ninth when Post 100 added three insurance runs.
Paul Finger, Dylan Anthony, Evan Wise and Daniel Scronce had two hits apiece and combined on four RBI as Post 100 opened up a 6-1 lead through six innings.
Starting pitcher Ryan Rhodes got the win with six innings of work. The lefthander from West Lincoln allowed four hits, struck out five, walked two and hit two batters with pitches.
The only tight situation for Cherryville came in the bottom of the eighth when Steele Creek scored two runs on Steven Aponte`s bad-hop single over the glove of second baseman Finger, cutting the deficit to 7-4.
However, reliever Kyle Snyder retired the side on a fly ball and sent Post 221 down in order in the ninth. Snyder also pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning.
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Rhodes, Snyder (7) and Glover. Rubinstein, Hill (9) and Schipani, Smith (5). W–Rhodes. L–Rubinstein.
Cherryville 14, Gastonia 4–At Fraley Field in Cherryville, Post 100 broke the game open with an eight-run scoring spree in the fourth inning and ended it after seven innings on the 10-run mercy rule.
Josh Glover`s three-run homer highlighted the big inning that gave Post 100 a 9-2 lead. Cook, who was 4-for-4 for the game, knocked in two runs in that inning with a double.
Glover finished the game 2-for-3 with four RBI, and Josh Day went 2-for-2 with a RBI.
Chris Henderson went the distance on the mound for Cherryville, giving up four runs on nine hits while striking out three and walking two.
Spencer Robinson went 3-for-3 to lead Post 23.
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WP–Chris Henderson. LP–Matt Barnes.
Post 100 southpaw Kyle Snyder gets the nod for tonightâ€™s pivotal game versus Pineville at home. Chris Dean / LTN Photo
by Mike Powell