Post 29 7 — Post 70/77 3

AMERICAN CORNER — Facing elimination and trailing 3-2 in the sixth inning Monday evening, Caroline Post 29 put the ball in play and watched good things happen on Colonel Richardson High’s baseball field.

Will Manship and Jackie Zebron each reached base on errors and they both scored to start a five-run sixth as Caroline Post 29 topped Talbot Post 70/77, 7-3, to tie their best-of-three division championship series at 1-1.

The two teams are scheduled to square off again tonight beginning at 5:30 p.m. to decide the champion of the American Legion Eastern Shore District North Division. The series winner advances to the state tournament, July 29, in Cumberland.

Ty Scott earned the win, tossing the final 1⅓ innings in relief for Caroline starter Remy Mangum.

Talbot stroked nine hits off Mangum but was held to three runs, as Post 70/77 left 11 runners stranded. Scott entered with two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth after Mangum had reached his pitch limit. Scott fanned the only batter he faced to leave all three runners on base and retired Talbot in order in the seventh to close out the game.

Caroline stroked only four hits off Talbot starter Jack Vener, who pitched 5⅔ innings, but four errors opened the door for Post 29’s scoring.

“They helped us out a little bit with some walks, a hit batter, but we got some timely at-bats, worked the counts on a good pitcher, chased him out of there,” Caroline manager Ryan Blanchfield said. “Hopefully we’ll do the same thing tomorrow. Remy always keeps us in the game and Ty came in and shut the door on them and that’s what we like to see.”

Tyler Stanley and Zebron each walked in the home first and advanced into scoring position on a ground out by Mangum. Both runners then came home on consecutive throwing errors, beginning with a throw back to the pitcher, for a 2-0 lead. Post 29 didn’t score again until the sixth.

Talbot closed within 2-1 in the third. With one out, Trent Weems lined a base hit to left. He was picked off first base but avoided a tag at the end of a rundown to safely get back to first. Jaden Cassell then walked. With two outs, Logan Baillif singled up the middle to knock in Weems.

After a scoreless fourth, Nick Newnam tripled with one out and scored on a grounder off the bat of Baillif, who ended up on second after an error. With two outs, Aubrey Perry reached base on a swinging bunt before Nick Christopher lined an RBI single to left to put Talbot up 3-2.

But Talbot’s lead was short-lived.

Manship stroked a hard grounder to shortstop and reached base on an error. Zebron placed a bunt down the first-base line that was misplayed and gained first. Mangum walked to load the bases. Garrett Nepert was hit by a pitch to tie the score. Scott followed with a blast to third base for an infield hit to plate Zebron. Mangum scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Tristen McNeal, and Nepert crossed home on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Joel Cohee to make it 6-3. McNeal came home on a two-out single to left by Matt Willoughby to end the scoring.

Vener allowed seven runs (none earned) on four hits, four walks, and a hit-batter with two strikeouts.

Mangum allowed three runs (two earned) on nine hits and three walks, with five strikeouts.

“These two teams, they know each other well. It really comes down to a matter of execution,” Talbot manager Albert Pritchett said. “We didn’t field the ball as well as we did the first game as a team and we left 11 people on base. We just couldn’t get that extra hit as a team. If we field the ball like we can, get our timely hits, I think it’s a different ballgame. But Caroline’s always well prepared. They take advantage of every mistake you make. And you just can’t make as many mistakes as we did tonight.”

Manship is expected to start on the mound tonight for Caroline and Jaden Cassell is likely to start for Talbot.

Follow me on Twitter @csknauss / email me at cknauss@stardem.com

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