The lightning strikes again.
This time it came from the bat of Clover Post 38's Josh Greene in the eighth inning when he hit a bases-clearing double to propel Post 38 to a come-from-behind 12-10 victory over Easley Post 52 in the first round of the American Legion state tournament.
Post 38 leads the best-of-five series 2-1 and will look to close it out today on the road. Should Easley force a fifth game, it will be played Friday on a neutral field, likely in the Spartanburg area.
Greene's hit was sweet redemption after he dropped what would have been an inning-ending fly ball to center earlier that allowed Post 52 to take a 10-7 lead.
"We blew a lot of opportunities to score tonight," Post 38 coach Darrell van Dyke said. "But Greene told me he was going to get us back on top after making that error that allowed those runs in the eighth."
After falling behind 8-4 after three innings, Post 38 began climbing its way back into the game in the fourth. Clover was the benefactor of a few miscues by Easley pitcher Kilby Lesley who walked a pair of batters to load the bases with no outs after Greene leadoff with a single.
Josh Villejos then grounded into a double play, giving Post 52 a glimmer that they would escape the inning without giving up any runs. Shane Waldrop singled to score Greene and Jacob Ramsey later singled to plate Waldrop. Clover had battled back to draw within one and trailed 8-7 entering the fifth.
Post 38 reliever Robert Langford shook off a shaky start in the third and began to quiet Easley's attack thanks to his breaking ball. He fanned four Easley batters, including back-to-back strikeouts to end the sixth to keep Clover in striking distance.
Van Dyke was very thankful for Langford's performance on mound.
"I tell you what, you have got to give Langford a big thumbs up for his performance out there."
On the other side, Lesley began fading quickly in the sixth as he walked Villejos and Waldrop to leadoff the inning. Travis Heffner hit a bullet that richocheted off Lesley's glove, but second baseman Matt Whitworth was able to still make the play to get the out.
Ryan Stollar was intentially walked to setup Langford with the bases loaded again. Clover squandered away another game-changing opportuninty as Langford was unable to get a hit. Easley escaped the inning as Clover left the bases loaded for the second time.
Langford, back on the mound, kept Post 52 in check through the sixth and seventh innings. He had them on the ropes in the eigth with two outs, but got flustered when he beaned Brandon Rogers. Brand Looper then singled to setup Kilby Lesly who drilled a two RBI double to deap centerfield to put his team ahead 10-7. The inning could have easily been ended had Greene, Clover's centerfielder, not dropped Lesly's flyball.
Post 38, aptly nicknamed "The Lightning Bolts," struck again in the eigth.
Villejos reached on a walk and was eventually driven in by Jacob Ramsey to get within two runs. Harrison Morris, pinch hitting for Langford, also reached on a walk to load the bases. Greene drilled a liner down the left field line to clear the bases to put Clover ahead 11-10.
CLOVER 12, EASLEY 10
Kilby Lesley and Britt Fenley. Dustin Victor and Josh Vellejos. W -- Langford. L -- Lesly. 2B -- Villejos, Heffner, Stone, Rogers, Lesly.
Leading hitters: Easley -- Stone 2-4, 2 RBIs. Clover -- Greene 4-6, 4 RBIs, 2 runs