Post #118 earns dramatic win over Carl Junction

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

It is a situation every baseball player dreams of: tie game, bottom of the ninth inning, runners in scoring position.

Cassville Post #118's Jordan Fisher grabbed a batting helmet and dug in against Carl Junction's Zach Beyer in that surreal scenar-io. Beyer felt the moment too, balking Chase Jackson and Alex Dyer into scor ing position. Then Fisher jumped on a 1-1 fastball, scorching a one-hopper that ate up the second baseman and sent Jackson home with the winning run.

With that final play, Irwin-Easley Post #118 defeated Carl Junction Post #781 6-5 on June 26 at Wildcat Field in the best and most exciting game of the summer. Playing a full nine-inning game in scorch-

ing heat, players from both sides made play after play in the field and collected timely hits at the plate as they battled back and forth.

Tyler Armentrout gave Carl Junction the early lead, clubbing Noah Hadlow's fastball over the left field fence in the top of the first inning, and the visitors led 1-0. But Post #118 stormed right back in the bottom of that frame and tied the game on just four pitches from Brandon Harner.

Leigh Cox ripped Harner's first offering into left field for a single. Hadlow also went first-pitch fishing and rocked a double. Gabe Kirk took a pitch then hit a long sacrifice fly to score Cox and tie the game at 1-1.

Carl Junction regained the lead at 2-1 in the top of the third inning when Ar- mentrout's RBI single scored

Sam Stebbins. Harner faced only three Cassville batters in both the second and third innings as the visitors came to bat in the fourth frame still leading 2-1.

Hadlow surrendered consecutive singles to start the inning and looked weary in the heat. But Harner hit into a double-play on a three- two count, and then Hadlow fanned Austin Niemeyer to survive the inning.

A bizarre home half of the inning saw Cassville squander scoring oppor- tunities. Hadlow reached on a leadoff walk, but then Gabe Kirk was called for batter interference when Hadlow stole second. Mar- cus Weatherman singled, and then Austin Hancock hit into a fielder's choice to put runners at second and third with two outs.

Andrew Whitham drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases, but Brett Nickle lined out sharply to the first base- man to end the inning. Carl Junction still held a 2-1 lead.

Cassville's defense squelched a potential Carl Junction rally in the top of the fifth inning. Nate Landes ripped a one-out double off Hadlow, but then Kurt Hulette lined out and Landes was doubled off trying to retreat back to second base to end the inning.

The Post #118 bats came to life in the home half of the fifth.

Jackson walked and stole second. Dyer's ground- ball eluded the Carl Junc- tion shortstop, and Jackson scored to tie the score at 2-2. Dyer was tagged out in a rundown, but Fisher and Hadlow both singled, and Kirk ran out an infield RBI that scored Fisher.

Despite some baserunning miscues, Cassville led

3-2.Hadlow returned to the mound and set Carl Junction down in order in the top of the sixth inning. Cassville stretched the lead in the bottom half of the sixth despite seeing Hancock thrown out at the plate. Zach Larson's RBI dou- ble chased Alex Vanderpool home for a 4-2 advantage.

The lead grew to 5-2 in the seventh inning. Beyer came on in relief for Harner, and Fisher greeted him with a leadoff single. Cox reached on a fielder's choice, then Kirk hit a two- out double to place two runners in scoring position.

Mason Loveland's grounder eluded the CJ in- field, and Cox crossed home plate to give Cassville a 5-2 cushion.

Cox replaced Hadlow on the hill for the top of the eighth inning, and Carl Junction roughed him up for three runs to tie the game at 5-5. Post #781 opened the inning with three consecutive hits for two runs. Then Dylan Avery-Smith laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to tie the game.

The 5-5 deadlock continued to the bottom of the ninth inning. Jackson's leadoff, routine grounder found a rock on the infield and shot up and over CJ's shortstop. Dyer stroked a single, and the runners advanced to second and third on Beyer's balk. Fisher's hard groundlball caromed off the second baseman's glove, and Jackson raced home with the winning run.

Hadlow pitched six complete innings to earn the win for Cassville. Beyer took the loss in relief for Carl Junction.

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