After not having a senior American Legion Baseball team in 2018, Independence Post 21 made a return this season and it didn’t start well.

It started on a five-game losing streak before winning the second game of a doubleheader against Gladstone Post 626, getting its first win of the season.

That may have given Post 21 a bit of momentum that carried into a nine-inning game against Bethany Thursday.

The offense got going, taking advantage of four Bethany errors and collecting 13 hits and drawing eight walks in a 15-5 mercy-rule victory in seven innings at the Independence Athletic Complex.

Four batters had at least two hits for Independence and everyone reached base at least once. The offense was led by Bradley Menzies, who went 3-for-4 with five RBIs and two runs scored.

“I hit in the cages today and I felt pretty good,” Menzies said. “I was just hitting the ball very well.”

Independence head coach Myles Odom noted that the entire offense has been clicking in recent games.

“All season we’ve been talking about approaches at the plate, and today everything looked a lot better,” Odom said. “We were swinging at strikes and not chasing pitches out of the zone. I think we only had two or three strikeouts in the game, which has been our downfall all year, not coming up in big situations.”

The offense made it easy for starting pitcher Austin Lewis. He allowed four runs (one earned) on five hits, walked one and stuck out six. Tyler Johnson finished the game by allowing one run in two innings.

“I felt like I threw pretty good,” Lewis said. “I am always confident in my defense. I know they can do it, it’s just some things happen. Just mental stuff.”

Bethany took a two-run lead in the first inning thanks to an infield error on a ground ball that normally would have ended the inning. Menzies scored in the bottom of the first on a Bethany error to make it 2-1, He later put his team ahead 3-2 in the second with a two-run single up the middle.

Bethany tied it with a run in the top of the third, but Independence took the lead back in the bottom half on a two-run bloop single to right from Cody Pleacher to make it 5-3.

Menzies drove in another run with an RBI single on a sharp line drive that deflected off the glove of relief pitcher Tyler Lundy and went into center field. That hit jump-started a seven-run fourth inning, giving Independence a comfortable 12-3 lead. Bryce Greenwalt had a two-run single in the inning.

Bethany scored one run in the fifth and one in the sixth. Menzies then drove in the last of his five RBIs with a two-run double that was close to clearing the left-field fence for a homer in the sixth.

“I thought it was. I thought it was (going over the fence),” Menzies said of the double. “I guess I just need to hit the weight room.”

Mason Chance hit a walk-off sacrifice fly in the seventh to end the game by mercy rule.