ASHEBORO — Trevor Marsh walloped a one-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth to give Randolph County its only lead of the day as Post 45 overcame an early four-run deficit to edge …
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ASHEBORO — Trevor Marsh walloped a one-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth to give Randolph County its only lead of the day as Post 45 overcame an early four-run deficit to edge Morgantown (WV) Post 2 by a 7-5 count in fourth round action of the 2019 American Legion Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament Saturday afternoon at McCrary Park.
While Randolph County’s come-from-behind triumph left both teams with an identical 35-10 record for the year, once-beaten Post 45 advanced to Sunday’s championship round against Vienna (VA) Post 180 (36-2), the tournament’s only remaining undefeated team, whereas Morgantown suffered its second tourney setback and was ousted from the double-elimination event.
In its quest to return to the American Legion World Series in Shelby for the third straight year, Randolph County would have to defeat Vienna twice in the same day to accomplish its goal.
Not only did Marsh provide his team with the game-winning hit, but as Post 45’s fourth and final pitcher of the day he picked up the win, hurling one and two-third innings and allowing one hit besides issuing one walk and fanning two.
Randolph County starter Easton Morgan lasted just two-thirds of an inning, giving up three hits and four earned runs while walking two.
Dawson Davis tossed two innings in relief, yielding four hits and an earned run in addition to whiffing a pair, while Hunter Hill surrendered three hits over two and two-third innings, striking out one.
“Baseball is a funny game, the way momentum can change from one inning to the next,” said Post 45 coach Ronnie Pugh. “When West Virginia scored four quick runs in the first we didn’t panic because we knew there were still a lot of innings to be played. While their pitcher did a good job keeping us off-balance, they couldn’t string enough hits together to extend their lead. We made some pitching moves that paid off and stayed patient at the plate, chipping away at their lead until Trevor’s homer won it for us.”
Matt Renner went the distance on the mound for Post 2 and took the loss while allowing nine hits and seven runs (six earned) in addition to walking four. The right-hander threw a total of 103 pitches, including 64 (62 percent) for strikes.
“We got off to a good start but knew Randolph County was a good team that would battle back,” said Morgantown coach Tyler Barnette. “We were down to the wire pitching-wise and had to go with Renner the whole way, and while he was effective in the early innings, he just got tired at the end and didn’t have the same velocity or control.”
Morgantown seized a 4-0 advantage in the top of the first as leadoff batter Quintin Smith doubled down the left field line and came around to score on consecutive base hits to left by Caleb Taylor and Colton Matthews.
After Gavin Cottle was hit by a pitch to load the sacks with one away, Clay Maholic drew a full-count base on balls to force in Taylor before Ethan Smith plated Matthews with a sacrifice fly to center.
Zachary Owens was then hit by a pitch to reload the bases prior to Avante Neal coaxing a full-count free pass to force in Cottle.
Post 45 responded with a run in its portion of the first as Harris Jackson led off with a full-count walk, stole second with one away and came in to score when Spencer Lanier reached on a throwing error.
Post 2 increased its lead to 5-1 in the visitors’ third as Ethan
Smith belted a leadoff triple to center and scored on Quintin Smith’s one-out sacrifice fly to center.
Randolph County answered with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the frame as Jackson slapped a leadoff single to left and tallied one out later on Spencer Lanier’s triple off the right field fence.
Blake Marsh then brought in Lanier with a two-out bad-hop single to right.
Post 45 pulled within 5-4 in the home fourth as Morgan coaxed a full-count leadoff walk, was balked to second and advanced to third on Tatum Marsh’s opposite-field single to left before scoring when Trevor Marsh lofted a one-out sacrifice fly to right.
Randolph County then proceeded to wrap up the victory in the bottom of the sixth as Morgan once again drew a free pass leading off the frame prior to Tatum Marsh bunting his way on base.
One out later, Trevor Marsh launched a 2-1 offering from Renner over the scoreboard in right-center field that decided the outcome and propelled Post 45 into the Regional finals.