CHESTER -- Post 27, which dominated its league during the regular season, suffered opposite fortunes in the American Legion playoffs, with its season coming to an end Friday with a 12-5 loss to Inman in the fifth and decisive game of the opening-round series.
During the regular season, Chester featured an explosive offensive, which posted a team batting average of nearly .350. That average, however, sank below .200 during the five-game playoff.
"Hitting-wise, I do not know what went wrong," Chester coach Dennis Jensen said. "I give their pitching credit, but we were not our usual selves offensively. We swung at bad balls, and suddenly began popping up the ball."
Chester did pound out 12 hits Friday, but that was overshadowed with Post 27 grounding into three double plays, which killed potential rallies at crucial points. In addition to cold hitting, Post 27, Jensen said, was not itself defensively. Chester was guilty of three costly errors, including one which contributed to a seven-run Inman rally in the fourth.
In addition to the errors, Inman added two doubles, three singles, and a walk in the top of the fourth, which gave Inman a commanding 8-0 lead at that point.
Chester gradually began a comeback, which began in the bottom of the fourth when Matt Stroud delivered an RBI single.
Three more Post 45 runs crossed the plate in the fifth. Daniel Rawls and Brendon Van Nostrand belted consecutive RBI singles, and Kyle Hefner brought home another score with an RBI double. A sacrifice fly brought home Stroud in the bottom of the fifth as Chester pulled to within three, 8-5.
However, the Chester momentum quickly faded in the top of the seventh. Chad Collins came through with a two-run double, pushing the Inman lead to 10-5.
From that point, Post 27, which bounced into two double plays in the seventh and eighth innings, was unable to mount another threat.
"We did not get timely hits and did not make routine plays defensively," Jensen said. "We just did not execute defensively; the ball just seemed to fall (Inman's) way. They scored seven runs in one inning, and that is when we gave them three or four extra outs."
Chester was led offensively by Stroud with three hits, followed by Rawls and Heffner with two each.
Jensen said that winning the league regular season by five-games was special; however, Friday's loss gave the Post 27 coach a bitter taste.
"As for me personally, I do not like losing; but looking back on this season, we played well. I guess we got into the playoffs and played four games in four days and we did not show up and play our best baseball."
Inman, 11-8 overall, advances to the next round of the American Legion playoffs, while Chester finishes at 16-5.