SHELBY — The Lincoln County Cardinals exited the American Legion Area IV playoffs in the first round with a Game 5 loss to Shelby Post 82 5-4 on Sunday.
Shelby held a 2-0 lead in the series headed into the weekend, but the Cardinals won Friday’s game 4-3 and forced the winner-take-all game with a 9-2 victory at The Corral at East Lincoln High School on Saturday.
Shelby got on the board on Sunday with Nick Triplett’s double in the bottom of the first inning. Lincoln County short stop Randal Ortiz closed the gap to 2-1 with a solo home run over the 400-foot sign in centerfield to lead off the top of the third inning, but Shelby countered with a two-run home run by C.J. Brooks in the bottom of the third for a 4-1 lead.
Post 82 held the lead until doubles by Ortiz and Reeder scored three runs to tie the game at 4-4 in the top of the seventh.
Shelby answered again with an RBI-single in the bottom of the eighth by Phillip Black that gave Post 82 a 5-4 lead.
David Scoggins was brought in to pinch hit for the Cardinals in the top of the ninth and hit a double down the right field line. Centerfielder Clay Hodges hit a one-out ground ball to the Shelby short stop, who faked a throw to first and then made a throw to third that caught Scoggins for the second out of the inning. Danny Sullivan popped out to first base to end the game.
Shelby moves on to face Huntersville in the second round of the playoffs today at North Mecklenburg High School.
The Cardinals escaped Friday’s game despite a ninth-inning rally by Post 82.
Lincoln County took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Clay Hodges led off the game by reaching first base on an error, advanced to second on a wild pitch and stole third. Addison Parrish hit a single to right field for the RBI.
Jake Cochrane started the game on the mound for the Cardinals, and gave up a leadoff single to Jackson Mims before striking out the next three batters with nine strikes in a row. He struck out five more batters in seven innings and gave up four hits.
Lincoln County added two more runs in the top of the second. Catcher Zach Reeder had a one-out single and Dylan Thompson hit a double into left field. Hodges then hit a ground ball to Shelby second baseman Chandler Young, whose throw to home plate went high, and allowed both Reeder and Thompson to score.
The Cardinals added their final run in the top of the fourth. Ortiz led off the inning with a single to centerfield and stole second base during Thompson’s at-bat. Ortiz made a move to steal third base, and drew a throw for an attempted pick-off from Shelby catcher Even Loaces that sailed over Mims’ glove at third base and plated Lincoln County’s fourth run of the game.
Shelby scored one run in the bottom of the sixth on a sacrifice fly ball by Brock Melton.
Post 82 added two more runs in the bottom of the ninth on a two-out two-RBI double to centerfield by Brooks. Thompson, pitching in relief for the Cardinals, struck out Loaces to end the game.
Saturday’s game was tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth until Thompson launched a two-run home run to left field to give Lincoln County a 3-1 lead.
The Cardinals extended that lead even further with a six runs in the sixth inning.