Even through just one game as manager of the Hi-Boy Drive In-Post 340 team, Barney White can claim at least a little familiarity with his entire team.
Even through just one game as manager of the Hi-Boy Drive In/Post 340 team, Barney White can claim at least a little familiarity with his entire team.
In its American Legion season opener Tuesday at Crysler Stadium, all 15 of Post 340’s players had at least one plate appearance, and White employed six pitchers in an 8-4 win over Independence Post 21.
Led by Ryan Tolliver’s three singles, nine Hi-Boy players combined for 13 hits against Post 21, which fell to 3-4.
“I’ve seen about half the kids in high school ball,” said White, who was a Post 21 assistant last season. “There’s about five I’ve never seen play in a game.
“I think we’ll be all right (hitting), and I did not know if we would be that good.”
Hi-Boy also got some help from Post 21 to break a scoreless game in the top of the third.
With two outs, Tyler Robinson reached base on a throwing error, starting pitcher Chance Divers legged out an infield single and Ryan Stick followed with a lazy fly ball to right that was misjudged into a run-scoring double. Two batters later, Tolliver’s bases-loaded hit made it 2-0.
Another error started the fourth inning, and Darby Raines’ one-out single with the bases loaded made it 3-0. Zac Blakemore forced in another run with a two-out walk, and Tolliver then chased in two more with a single.
That gave a green Hi-Boy pitching staff plenty of breathing room. Divers went the first two innings on the mound, followed by Tolliver, Aaron Alter, Justin Doss (two innings), David Jean (two innings) and Raines. They scattered seven hits and 10 walks with just four strikeouts, but were backed by a flawless defense that threw out one base stealer and turned a double play.
“We played very stellar defense,” White said. “(Travis) Jeffries, our second catcher, really impressed me with a lot of hustle. He’ll help us out a lot back there.
“A lot of our young kids played well. Pitching scared me a little, but everyone that threw today had never thrown in high school ball, I believe.”
Post 21 made it a 6-4 game thanks to Stuart Lauber’s two-out single with the bases loaded in the fourth and Josh Felz’s two-run double in the fifth. Felz’s one-hopper to the fence in center was his third hit of the game.
But Jeffries and Luke Crabb singled in runs for Post 340 in the sixth, and Post 21 had a tally erased in the bottom half when the runner failed to touch third base while coming home on Kyle Combs’ two-out double.
Post 21 then stranded two runners each of the last three innings, leaving manager Tom Bush grateful his team has a chance to quickly redeem itself with a zone doubleheader Thursday.
“We are not playing good baseball,” Bush said. “I’ve got five or six kids really hustling and doing the things they need to do. But I’ve got kids making mental mistakes.
“We missed third base – that cost us a run and an out. One inning we gave them about six outs, and you’re not going to win at this level if you do that. I’d love to have six outs.”