The Cassville Irwin-Easley Post 118 team took a long road trip over the weekend, winning two of three games at the prestigious Texarkana American Legion Baseball Tournament. The tournament is hosted by the two Texarkana American Legion teams: the Indians of the west side of the border and the Razorbacks from the east.
On Friday afternoon, Post 118 jumped all over Gametime Academy in their rule-shortened, pool-play contest, taking an impressive 14-2 victory. Trevor Tanner ripped a second-inning home run to lead the offensive onslaught. Kyle Rhea pitched all four innings and allowed only five hits while facing 19 batters.
Saturday afternoon, with the temperature topping the century mark, the Cassville crew downed Evangel Academy, 8-3. Josh Hartin's grand slam over the left field fence led to a 6-1 lead at the end of the first inning, and Post 118 cruised to the win. John Cavness started and pitched four innings to earn the victory. James Musick came on to finish in the heat.
With just a couple of hours rest in between games, Post 118 returned to the field to face a powerful Fayetteville, Ark., squad, and lost a heartbreaker, 4-3.
Tanner scored in the top of the first to give Cassville an early lead. Then Jon Riley doubled and scored in the fourth to make it a 2-0 game.
Travis Northern blanked the opposing batters for three innings before yielding a hit, but Fayetteville battled back and tied the game at 2-2 at the end of four innings. In the fifth inning, Northern retired the first batter, gave up a single to Gordon Miller and then walked J.T. Bowen and Brandon Zamzow to load the bases.
"He threw a great game," said Post 118 skipper Jeremy Marple of Northern. "But in the heat, he just couldn't go any more."
Marple went to the mound and waved in Riley from center field. Riley pitched out of the bases-loaded jam, retiring both Matt Stelte and Adam Baker on infield fly balls to end the threat.
Zach Campbell doubled and scored as Post 118 reclaimed the lead in the seventh inning, but Fayetteville answered when Cole Faulconer's RBI double plated his brother Tyler to tie the score at 3-3. Zamzow scored the game winner, and Fayetteville moved on to the semifinals.
One of the host teams, the Texarkana Razorbacks, eliminated Fayetteville in one semifinal, but it was Little Rock Continental that claimed the tallest trophy, winning the championship contest in extra innings, 9-8.
"Our kids played really hard, and they played really well," said Marple from his Cassville office on Monday. "Our team got a lot of compliments for both their play and their conduct while we were in Texarkana. The host coach said we were welcome to come back any time."
The Cassville American Legion squad now owns a 13-2 record and will host a doubleheader on Saturday morning beginning at 10 a.m.