DENVER — The Lincoln County Cardinals dropped the second game of their best-of-five series 7-2 to Shelby Post 82 on Thursday at East Lincoln High School, and now face a Game 3 in which a loss means elimination from the American Legion baseball Area IV playoffs.
“For us, the next game is just one game,” Lincoln County head coach Bruce Bolick said. “We’re going to try to survive the next game.”
Post 82 had already amassed a 7-0 lead before the Cardinals first scored in the bottom of the eighth, thanks, for the most part, to crafty pitching from starting sidearm-pitcher Dustin Greene. Greene was relieved in the bottom of the eighth inning after walking Lincoln County left fielder David Scoggins, but allowed one run, gave up seven hits, walked three and struck out two during his time on the field. Right-hander Frankie Harrill walked one, struck out one and gave up two hits, both doubles, in relief work.
The Cardinals started Bandys left-hander Hayden Deal on the mound. Deal walked four batters, gave up five hits and struck out one Shelby batter. Bradley Hallman closed the game for Lincoln County.
Post 82 took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when Cody Fitch drew a one-out walk from Deal, moved to third base on a wild pitch and crossed home on Chandler Young’s infield single. Jackson Mims hit a ground ball to Lincoln County short stop Randal Ortiz for the second out, and left fielder C.J. Brooks hit a grounder to Lincoln County first baseman Addison Parrish to end the inning.
Shelby scored its second run in the top of the fourth off of Ryley Smith’s sacrifice groundout to Parrish. Brock Melton added two more runs for a 4-0 lead in the top of the fifth with a double to center field and Even Loaces made the score 5-0 with an RBI-single. Shelby scored its final two runs in the top of the seventh.
The Cardinals left 13 runners on base throughout the game, including loaded bases in the bottom of the third.
“That happens in all kinds of baseball,” Bolick said. “When you have an unorthodox pitcher it kind of multiplies things.”
Lincoln County got on the board in the eighth after both Scoggins and designated hitter Clayton Dellinger drew two-out walks. Zach Reeder hit a ground ball that was booted by Mims at third base, allowing Scoggins to score. Center fielder Clay Hodges (3-5, three singles) hit a pop up to Harrill in foul territory to end the inning with runners on first and second.
Third baseman Danny Sullivan drove home Lincoln County’s second run in the bottom of the ninth. Jacob Hoover led off the inning with a double to center field and was brought home by Sullivan’s two-out double to left field.
The Cardinals travel to Shelby High School’s Keeter Stadium for tonight’s game at 7 p.m.