Post 118 defeats Webb City in Saturday twinbill
Cassville's Irwin-Easley Post 118 American Legion team swept a scorching afternoon doubleheader from Webb City Post 322 on Saturday at Wildcat Field. The Cassville-based team won 9-5 and 9-1 on the heels of their twin victories at Seneca on Wednesday.
In the opening game, Travis Northern went the distance for the Irwin-Easley Post, striking out eight red shirts in seven innings of work. Webb City's Cody Thompson was charged with the loss after relieving Derrick Mann in the fifth inning.
Two scoreless innings entered the books before the Webb City team broke on top 2-0 in the top of the third. Hayden Hickam and Scott Roderique led off the fifth with consecutive singles for Post 322. Thompson laid down a textbook sacrifice bunt and was tagged out on the way to first base, but the ensuing throw to third skipped to the fence and two runs scored on the error.
The Irwin-Easley team avoided further damage when Northern retired Colin Sigars on a routine ground ball after walking a pair of hitters.
Aaron Brooks halved the lead immediately for the home team, pummeling a 3-2 fastball over the left field fence and into the softball field on the lower plateau. The blast was conservatively placed at 370', and Webb City's lead was cut to 2-1.
The lead bumped up to 3-1 in the top of the fourth inning. Webb's Gage Belcher reached on a one-out error and scored on an RBI double from Hickam, the following batter.
The Post 118 hitters tore up Derrick Mann in the home half of the fourth inning. Singles by Taran Holt and Blake Dilbeck, a sac bunt by Jon Riley and a walk collected by Brooks loaded the bases. With two outs, Ricky Vanderpool's groundball shorthopped the third baseman, and three runs scored on the error. Northern contributed a clutch double to plate Vanderpool for a 5-3 Cassville lead.
The Webb City team refused to wilt. The boys in red scored once in the fifth inning to cut the lead to 5-4. Nathan Irvin stole third with two outs and scored when the attempted pick was thrown wide of the mark.
Thompson came on to pitch for Webb and blanked the home team in the fifth. Hickam scored to tie the game in the top of the sixth inning, thanks to a walk and Thompson's two-out RBI single to center field.
But the Irwin-Easley group pounded out four runs in the bottom of the sixth and chased Thompson from the hill. Cody Cantwell walked to lead off the inning, and that was followed by singles by Brooks, Vanderpool, Northern and Riley to build an 8-5 lead for the home team. Kyle Rhea's RBI groundout scored Northern and produced the final score of 9-5.
Following a short intermission, the teams returned to the sun-drenched field. The Irwin-Easley team sent Jamie Musick to the mound for the five-inning tilt, and he survived a shaky first inning with no runs allowed. WC Post 322 squandered a bases-loaded opportunity and stranded three on Dakota Newby's groundout.
Keaton Teal opened on the hill for Webb City. Though he wore the same jersey number as Musick, his results were strikingly different. Post 118 batted around in the bottom of the first inning, with Brooks being both the first and last Cassville batter of the frame. Prior to his second at bat, the home team scored six runs.
Brooks reached on an error, Vanderpool walked, Northern laid down a pretty sac bunt and then Riley blistered a two-RBI double to the centerfield fence. Rhea's double sent Riley home. Bo Blissard walked but was thrown out stealing second base. Riley Veith's two-out RBI scored Rhea for a 4-0 lead. Josh Dyer walked and followed Veith home on Musick's two-RBI double.
Teal's nightmare inning finally ended with a third-out groundball from Brooks.
Webb City's lone run of the second game came in the top half of the second inning. Following a crisp catch-and-pickoff double play by Post 118, Sigars reached on an infield error then scored on a double by Rich Peoples, but the visitors still trailed 6-1.
Carson Powell relieved Teal for the second inning. Vanderpool greeted the new hurler with a lead-off double, took third base on a grounder off the bat of Northern and scored on a passed ball for a 7-1 lead.
The Webb City team would not score again in the contest, as Musick matched Northern with a complete-game victory. Post 118 pushed across two more runs in the third inning. Veith scored courtesy of Musick's RBI single, and Dyer raced home following a passed ball for the 9-1 winning margin.
The Cassville team would load the bases in the fourth inning but failed to capitalize on the scoring possibilities. Musick mowed down the opposition in the fifth and final inning, facing a minimum of batters and finding three outs with only four pitches.