• Post 21 starts to kick funk

  • Bobby Brock isn’t quite used to putting high stress on his arm.

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  • Bobby Brock isn’t quite used to putting high stress on his arm.
    The Independence Post 21 left-hander has served mainly a relief role this season, starting just one game prior to Wednesday night’s Zone doubleheader against Oak Grove Post 379 at Webb Park. But in the first game, Brock put his arm to the test, tossing 108 pitches in a complete-game 7-4 victory.
    “I try to keep my pitch count around the 60s, 70s, but sometimes I like to go out there and tell my coach, ‘Let me keep going, let me keep going. I’m feeling all right,’” said Brock, who struck out five against the Zone 2 East leaders. “The main thing is throughout the years I’ve learned to pitch with fatigue. Really, the main thing is to learn to do that and control it.”
    After laboring through the first frame, Brock settled in and retired 11 of 12 batters in the middle innings. Twice, Post 21 manager Tim Madsen made trips to the mound in the fifth and sixth innings with runners on, but he said the thought of pulling Brock never crossed his mind.
    “Bobby’s one of those guys he comes in there and he hurls for you,” Madsen said. “He’s got great heart and he’s different enough in how he looks to the batters that you can count on him to come in there and start a game for you.”
    Brock battled on the mound, but perhaps more significantly the Post 21 (6-14, 6-8 Zone) bats showed signs of breaking out of a recent slump for the second consecutive game. Although Post 21 struggled in the second game, falling 12-1, the lineup put together its second consecutive strong showing following Tuesday's 10-7 defeat to the Lee’s Summit Hawthorn Bank Outlaws. In Wednesday's first game, Post 21 slapped nine hits and knocked six hits with runners on.
    Catcher Cody Gregory led the charge, reaching base three times, scoring a run and ripping and RBI double and single.
    “Cody’s just a great ballplayer,” Madsen said. “He’s aggressive at the plate. We had to work with him a little bit earlier in the season on not being overly aggressive. He’s looking for home runs all the time, he’s a big kid. But Cody has really started coming together.”
    Gregory put Post 21 up 1-0 in the first by driving in Christian Janota with a single. Oak Grove (6-2, 6-2) answered in the second with a sacrifice fly from Dallas Herrmann that plated Cameron Hilbrenner and then went up 2-1 when Austin Reader scored on a wild pitch.
    But then Post 21 posted two runs the third, fifth and sixth innings with Gregory, Dane Garcia and Nick Adrales registering RBIs and James Curtin knocking in two with a single and sac fly.
    Page 2 of 2 - Oak Grove didn’t help matters by committing five errors, including three in the sixth.
    “These are usually solid ballplayers, they were just in a daze,” said Oak Grove manager Tom Phillips, who sat many of his starters in the first game after they played in a critical doubleheader against the Blue Springs Rod’s Sports A’s on Tuesday that the squads split.
    Connor Polacek reached three times for Post 21, ended 2-for-3, scored three runs and swiped a pair of bases and then drove in a run with a single in the second game. Reader went 3-for-3 with a double, two runs and stolen base for Oak Grove and Colton Hilbrenner took the loss on the mound.
    Follow Shawn Garrison on Twitter: @GarrisonEJC

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