Post 102 play-off hopes get big boost

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 29, 2007

AHOSKIE – The post-season hopes remain alive.

Despite winning only its second game of the Senior American Legion season, it’s the conference victories that count the most and Ahoskie Post 102 notched an important one here Thursday night by pinning a decisive 12-4 loss on league foe Beaufort County Post 15.

The win lifts Ahoskie to 2-5 in conference play (2-11 overall), but more importantly it gives Post 102 a regular season split with Beaufort, one of three teams the local club is battling with to stay in the hunt for the American Legion play-offs.

“We came out focused and ready to play tonight,” Post 102 head coach Randy Whitaker said. “I thought our defense played extremely well. This was a big conference win for us.”

Post 102 assistant coach Chris Towell was also pleased with the team’s effort.

“We got great pitching from Dustin (Briggs) and Josh (Morris),” Towell said. “Plus we got some key hits in some key spots and we were able to manufacture some runs.”

Briggs was indeed sharp on the mound for Post 102 as he collected the win by working five innings where he allowed three runs while fanning a half-dozen batters. Morris worked the final four frames on the hill, surrendering only one run for the save.

Offensively, Ahoskie put together one of its better efforts of the season by cranking out 14 hits. Ryan Matthews, Aaron Hoggard, Heath Britt, Briggs and Morris highlighted that effort with two hits each. Joe Harrell, Jacob Harrell, Michael Burton and Ryan Staton added one hit each.

Post 102 needed that effort on the mound and at the plate to gain the upper hand on their Beaufort County visitors.

Nursing a narrow 4-3 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, Ahoskie got itself some needed breathing room by plating three runs, all on one swing of the bat as Hoggard smacked a three-run homer. That dinger scored Britt, who had singled, and Jacob Harrell who worked his way onboard the bases with a walk.

After Beaufort County had trimmed its deficit to 7-4 with a solo run in the top of the eighth, Post 102 blew the game wide open by scoring five times in the home half of the inning. There, Ahoskie loaded the bases on singles by Staton and Matthews followed by a walk to Briggs. Britt then lined a two-RBI single to center and after Jacob Harrell reloaded the bases when he was hit by a pitch, Briggs scored the third run of the inning on a wild pitch.

But Ahoskie still wasn’t finished. They reloaded the bases again on a walk to Burton, setting the table for an RBI sac fly off the bat of Brent Bowen and Morris’ RBI single.

Beaufort County grabbed the early lead by scoring a pair of runs in their very first at-bat. Ahoskie matched that effort in the bottom of the first as they tied the game at 2-2 thanks to a solo homer by Briggs followed by a walk to Britt who stole second and scored on Jacob Harrell’s RBI single.

Post 102 took the lead for-keeps by plating another pair of markers in the bottom of the fourth. There, Bowen walked followed by a single from O.J. Dobbin. Joe Harrell’s RBI single plated Bowen, but Dobbin was thrown out at third on the play. Harrell held his ground and was rewarded as he scored on an RBI double by Matthews.

Post 102 will travel to Wayne County today (Saturday) for a 3 p.m. doubleheader.