Coming into Saturday’s Game 1 between Cherryville Post 100 and Union County, there was a lot of chatter about the Post 535 pitching staff.
After all, the Union County roster includes a pair of Division 1 commits that are headed to pitch at Virginia Tech and the Air Force Academy, who were both absent for the opening game of the series.
Union County continued their dominance on the mound on Saturday, as three Post 535 pitchers combined for a two-hit shutout of Post 100 and a 7-0 Game 1 win in the best-of-five series.
Starting Pitcher Grayson Barger threw five strong innings, allowing just one Cherryville hit. The righthander struck out only one, but forced numerous infield pop-ups and lazy fly balls to the outfield. Barger also limited his free passes, walking just two.
Gordon Soffel relieved Barger to begin the sixth, and didn’t miss a beat. Soffel allowed one single in his 1-2/3 innings of work, striking out three before giving way to Drew Cognac who recorded the final out.
And Saturday just wasn’t Post 100’s night.
While the bats were silenced, the defense didn’t give starting pitcher Seth Willis a lot of support. After striking out five batters through two shutout innings, an infield error and a fielder’s choice which did not record an out in the top of the third led to four Union County runs, three of which were unearned. Brett Wiseman’s two-out, two-run single made it a 4-0 game.
Infield errors in the fifth and sixth innings led to two more unearned runs that extended the Post 535 lead to 6-0, and a base on balls, wild pitch and RBI single from Soffel added the seventh run in Union’s final at bat.
Wiseman had two hits and drove in three Post 535 runs to lead Union County, who outhit Cherryville 8 to 2. Seven different players hit safely for Post 535.
Brent Walls double in the second inning and a single by Samuel Duncan in the seventh were the only Post 100 hits.
The shutout by Union County pitching was their fifth in eight playoff games, including three straight. Post 535 has allowed a total of three runs in their seven playoff wins.
Union County 004 011 1 - 7 8 0
Cherryville 000 000 0 - 0 2 4
Game 2: Cherryville 1, Union County 0
Post 100 (24-10) bounced back after Saturday’s shut-out loss at home with a shutout win of their own.
Brent Walls pitched a complete-game two-hitter, striking out six Post 535 batters and walking three in Cherryville’s win at Wingate University Sunday night.
After going scoreless through the first twelve innings of the best-of-five series against Union County (18-7) pitching, Post 100 finally pushed a run across in the top of the sixth inning of Game 2.
Coleson Miller’s sacrifice fly RBI scored Levi Kiser from third base for the only run of the game. Kiser had reached to lead off the inning on an infield error, advanced to second base on a WesReynolds walk and moved to third when Robbie Cowie was hit by a pitch.
Cherryville had an opportunity to add an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning when Dylan Robinson singled and later tried to score on a Cowie two-out base hit, but Robinson was thrown out at the plate for the third out.
The series, now knotted at a game apiece, resumes with Game 3 tonight in Cherryville.
Cherryville 000 001 0 - 1 3 1
Union County 000 000 0 - 0 2 1