After securing a spot in the final game in the loser’s bracket with a 7-5 win over Portsmouth on Wednesday Hillsboro American Legion Post 129 made their way back to VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe to take on Waverly Post 142. Hillsboro had their season ended with a 3-0 loss to Post 142 despite a stellar pitching performance by Kelton Anderson in his first start on the mound in nearly two years.
Hillsboro’s Caleb West drew a walk as the third batter in the inning and was advanced to second on a single by Anderson. West and Anderson executed a double steal to put two runners in scoring position for Post 129. The threat was ended when Mason Stanley struck out to end the inning.
Anderson took the mound in the bottom of the first inning and promptly struck out the first batter he faced. Following a single by the second batter for Post 142, Anderson got the three hole hitter to ground out and the clean up man lined out to second base where Hillsboro’s Payton Bell made a great grab to end the inning.
Both teams exhibited excellent defense and pitching in the second and third innings as Anderson and his counterpart for Post 142 faced no more than four batters in each inning.
West singled to lead off the fourth inning for Post 129 but was left on base when the following three batters were dispatched in order. In the bottom of the fourth Waverly’s Garrett Hurd recorded a single, stolen base and scored on a single by Kannon Pack to give Waverly a lead they would not relinquish.
Post 129 was able to place two runners in scoring position in the top of the fifth with Justin Scott on third and Gavin Taulbee on second but were unable to score either runner. Despite an error in the bottom of the fifth Hillsboro was able to prevent Post 142 from adding to their lead and preserved the 1-0 score as the teams prepared for the sixth inning.
In the top of the sixth inning Anderson and Stanley recorded consecutive singles for Post 129 with two outs. However, the rally came to a screeching halt when Dylan Boone struck out to end the inning. Post 142 added two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning with the leadoff batter reaching on an error. Hurd recorded a a double in the next at bat and scored on a single by Pack that pushed the Waverly lead to 3-0.
Hillsboro sent Scott, Taulbee and Zachary Mitchell to the plate in the top of the seventh inning. All three batters made excellent contact with the ball but the Waverly defense proved to be to stout as they all resulted in outs and brought Post 129’s season to an end.
Post 129 head coach Scott Morgan took the time after the game to thank all of his players and made special mention of Jonah Humphries, Anderson, Stanley and West who played their last Legion game on Thursday.
“Saying goodbye to some guys that have played for us for a few years and that is always hard. Good kids like Kelton, Caleb, Mason and Jonah that are too old to come back and I wish them all the best. I really appreciate all the guys playing for me. We’ve got kids from all over the place this year. Got a kid from Western Brown which we haven’t had in a long, long time; kids from Trace and we have the local kids as well. I think we made a step this year where Hillsboro Legion Baseball is where you want to go to play. We got those kids to come here and hopefully we can build on that and kids will start coming,” Morgan said.
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.