Part of managing an American Legion baseball team is confronting unexpected developments. Rock Hill Post 34 manager Mike Scott experienced two of legion baseball’s most unpredictable troubles in one week. Post 34 (2-1) had two games rained out and another called off because of lightning earlier in the week, before a 17-4 thumping by Gaffney Post 109 Friday night, with nine players absent for various reasons including graduation.
“They just overpowered us,” Scott said after the contest.
Rock Hill jumped out to a 3-0 lead at South Pointe High School. Post 34 leadoff man Dupree Hart singled - he got base knocks all three times at-bat - then moved to second when Brandon Ashley got aboard via an error. Cameron Smith singled in Hart, before a balk allowed Ashley to make it 2-0. Catcher Devante Hayden continued the Northwestern Trojans-inspired inning with an RBI single to complete the first inning scoring and get the hosts off to a positive start.
Post 34 starting pitcher Will Reid cruised through the first two innings but Gaffney got hip to his offerings in the third. The visitors produced seven hits in that frame, with Damian Eubanks, Josh Sereno, Zack Wood and Houston Wright smashing out RBI hits. Wood’s two-run double did big damage as Gaffney posted six runs in the inning to take a 6-3 lead.
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Will Chitwood spelled Reid in the next inning and stanched the bleeding. But Rock Hill’s batting lineup, featuring a couple of freshmen and sophomores in place of the absent seniors, struggled to make contact with Brady Lester’s pitching for Gaffney. Ashley’s RBI sacrifice fly cut the Post 109 lead to 7-4 in the fifth, but five Gaffney runs in the six and seventh frames buried the hosts.
“This was one of those ‘we did our best, forget the rest’ kind of games,” said Scott. “Next week we’ll come back on Monday and start hard. This wasn’t a region game so now we’ll start back with the region games and start getting it going.”
WP- Brady Lester; LP- Will Reid.
Leading hitters: Gaffney- Chris Clary 3-5, HR, 3B, 2 RBI; Colby Crow 1-2, 2 BB, HBP; Houston Wright 2-3, 3 RBI, BB; Zack Wood 3-3, 2B, 4 RBI. Rock Hill- Dupree Hart 3-3; Devante Hayden 1-2, RBI, BB.
Records: Rock Hill 2-1.
Bret McCormick • 803-329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T