Post 27 stays alive at state
PLYMOUTH — The Diamond Spyders may be too young to remember disco, but even they could appreciate a certain BeeGees classic Wednesday afternoon.
Staying alive is just what they did.
Plymouth Post 27 rallied back from a seven-run deficit to hand Mishawaka Post 161 an 8-7 defeat, surviving to play another day at the American Legion State Baseball Tournament at Bill Nixon Field.
“Especially after the way we lost last night — it was a heartbreaker — I’ve got to give the kids credit. They came out and I was afraid, you know, kids this age have a hard time letting that stuff go, but today I felt that we came out and were ready to play,” said Post 27 manager Will Hostrawser.
The Spyders trailed 7-0 until a big five-run fifth gave the home team new life.
Peter Shepherd walked and Eric Knepper singled through the gap at second with one out. Tyler LaFollette singled in Shepherd with a two-out flare into center, and Justin Oberlin, in his first at-bat of the day, singled in both Knepper and LaFollete with a line drive into right. Nick Pritz and Justin Gierlowski drew a pair of walks, runners advanced, then Oberlin scored on a pair of wild pitches, and Clayton Adamson’s grounder to third was mishandled to score Pritz and cut Post 27’s deficit to 7-5.
“That’s just taking advantage. A lot of that was with two outs,” said Hostrawser of the fifth. “Our kids just got into a position where they could take advantage of some pitches with some different pitch counts where you get a little bit more predictable on the mound. I thought our kids reacted well to that and didn’t try to kill the ball; they just put it in play. Any time you get down by a lot of runs, if you’ve got any power in your swing you’re thinking you want to find that one pitch to just drive it out of here, but I thought our kids stayed within themselves and did a nice job.”
Oberlin and Post 27 struck again in the sixth as the third baseman cranked a single into right to score both Drew McDonald and Tanner Hampton. The winning run came in the bottom of the eighth, when Knepper started things off with a one-out single into right, LaFollette and Oberlin drew walks, and Pritz knocked in Knepper when his grounder to third was overthrown, bringing the score to its final margin.
“Justin Oberlin wasn’t here yesterday because he had a migraine. We didn’t start him today because we wanted to make sure he was OK,” said Hostrawser. “He gave us a nice spark off the bench. We put him in at third, and he hasn’t played there all year, and he did a nice job with his bat.”
Post 27 plays again today at 12:30 p.m. at Bill Nixon Field.
“We’re in a situation with our pitching staff where we’ve got to be patchwork the rest of the way. We’re going to have to figure out who can start and give us innings, and we’ve got to watch appearances now… I think guys’ll be throwing on shorter windows. We’ve got to throw strikes and we’ve got to play defense behind them,” Hostrawser said.
“It’ll be one of those days where you show up at the ballpark and figure out where you’re going to put people. It’ll be fun.”
• PLYMOUTH POST 27 8,
MISHAWAKA POST 161 7
At Bill Nixon Field
Mishawaka: 002 140 000 — 7 14 3
Plymouth: 000 052 01x — 8 9 5
WP: Clayton Adamson; SV: Tyler LaFollete; LP: Hunter Clark
2B: Anthony Piraccini (M)