MOORESVILLE — Trent Little’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh scored Cole Robbins with the deciding run as Mooresville Post 66 rallied its final turn at bat to edge Eastern Randolph 6-5 …
Thanks for reading Chatham County’s leading news source! Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing to the News + Record – you can do so by clicking here.
MOORESVILLE — Trent Little’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh scored Cole Robbins with the deciding run as Mooresville Post 66 rallied its final turn at bat to edge Eastern Randolph 6-5 Friday night at Mooresville High School in Game 1 of the first round of the American Legion Area III best-of-three playoff series.
Second-seed Mooresville raised its season record to 9-12, while seventh-seed Post 81 dropped to 3-19.
Post 66 pitcher Brandon Manchester, who relieved starter Jaxon Mays with one away in the top of the seventh, tossed two-thirds of an inning to receive credit for the win. Mays went six and one-third innings on the mound, surrendering 10 hits and five runs (three earned) in addition to walking two and fanning four.
Ty Stazz and Jermine Green both notched three hits for the winners, while Quinn Ferguson and Scotty Diekman contributed two safeties apiece as Mooresville collected a dozen hits in all.
“We missed scoring opportunities by leaving a lot of people on base in the early innings, but after we opened up a five-run lead we got comfortable and gave away some at-bats in the middle innings by swinging away and not being patient at the plate,” said Post 66 interim coach Bart Mays. “But give Eastern Randolph a lot of credit. They kept fighting the whole way and eventually did a great job coming back to pull even in the top of the seventh before we regrouped in the bottom half of the inning to escape with a victory.”
Post 81 starter Mason Canoy hurled four innings and was charged with eight hits and five runs (four earned) while issuing one free pass and striking out one.
Eastern Randolph reliever Jacob Underwood worked two-plus innings on the hill and was tagged with the loss after giving up four hits and one earned run besides walking one and whiffing one.
Clay Edmonson went three-for-three at the plate while Boone recorded a pair of hits to pace Post 81’s 10-hit attack.
“I was proud how our guys never gave up when they fell behind 5-0, and I thought they showed a lot of confidence at the plate when our bats started to come around in the seventh inning to put us in a position to win the game,” said Eastern Randolph interim coach Brian Heilig. “If we could have gotten our five runs early instead of late it might have helped our pitcher. This was just the sixth time all season we had more than one batter with multiple hits, and hopefully tonight’s effort will carry over to tomorrow night at our place.”
Mooresville jumped out to a quick 1-0 advantage in the home first when Ferguson led off the frame by belting a 3-0 offering from Canoy over the right field fence for his first home run of the season.
Post 66 relied on the long ball again in the bottom of the second when Stazz crushed a one-out 1-2 Canoy delivery over the fence in right for his initial round-tripper of the year.
Mooresville proceeded to extend its advantage to 5-0 in the home third as lead-off batter David Brannon reached on an infield miscue and moved to second when Cole Robbins coaxed a full-count walk.
Andrew Martin followed with a double into the left field corner to drive in Brannon and send Robbins to third. Robbins then came in to score on a groundout by Stazz that advanced Martin to third prior to the latter dashing home on a wild pitch.
Mays breezed into the top of the seventh just three outs from twirling a five-hit shutout before the Post 81 bats finally came alive.
Boone ignited the Eastern Randolph comeback with a lead-off infield single before racing to third when Tyler Campbell reached on an error.
Underwood followed with a run-scoring base hit up the middle to bring in Boone prior to Edmonson’s single to left that loaded the sacks.
Chris Morgan’s groundout then brought in Campbell and moved the other two runners up a base before Connor Murphy drilled a two-run single up the gap in right-center.
Canoy poked a base hit to left to advance Murphy to second, and the latter used some heads-up base running to come around to score the tying run when Camden Fuquay reached on a fielder’s choice.
But Post 66 would mount its winning rally in the bottom half of the frame as Robbins slapped a lead-off single up the middle, Martin drew a free pass on four pitches and Stazz bunted his way on base to fill the sacks with no outs.
Little then lofted a fly ball to right that was snagged by Canoy, who made a perfect throw to catcher Chris Morgan, but home plate umpire Jeremy Blake ruled Robbins managed to slide under Morgan’s tag and was safe to end the contest.