A 10-run inning can atone for a lot of sins. Just ask Independence Post 21.
After stumbling through an error-prone first inning and later losing the lead, Post 21 put everything right with a 10-run fourth inning that sealed a 14-5 victory over Overland (Mo.) Post 338 in an American Legion Wood Bat Invitational game Friday afternoon at Hidden Valley Park.
Post 21 later secured a berth in the tournament’s championship bracket quarterfinals with a win over Blue Springs Post 499 Fike (see related story).
Post 21 fell into a quick 3-0 hole thanks mainly to three first-inning errors. A misplayed ball put Overland’s leadoff hitter on base; another miscue led to one of the runs. Post 21 starting pitcher Austin Lewis only gave up one hit, but he walked two and threw a wild pitch.
Post 21 did strike back in the second inning with four runs on five hits, including an RBI single that started outfielder Cody Pleacher’s 3-for-3, three-RBI afternoon. But Overland regained the lead with two runs in the top of the fourth, one of them on a bases-loaded hit batsman.
“We played pretty sound (Thursday) but came out kind of flat this afternoon,” said Post 21 coach Myles Odom, who was filling in for manager Greg Lundquist. “We just figured it out.”
Very quickly, too.
Pleacher’s doubled to begin the seven-hit, 14-batter barrage. Brett Lundquist tied the score with a sacrifice fly that brought home Pleacher, and Bryce Greenwalt plated the go-ahead run when a grounder by Lewis rolled through the legs of Overland’s second baseman.
“From my experience playing, once one person capitalizes on a mistake like that … it’s all downhill from there,” Odom said. “You’re just going to hit until nobody wants to hit anymore.”
And Post 21 kept hitting. Cam Lusso slashed a two-run triple, Pleacher doubled again for two more runs and Lundquist capped the inning with a two-run single. Nine of the runs scored with two outs.
“I feel like we got everybody fired up in the dugout,” Pleacher said. “We got everybody going. From there we just took off, with hitting and everything.”
The big inning bailed out Lewis, who settled down after the wobbly first to give up just five hits and four walks with six strikeouts. And it also kept Post 21 on a nice roll going into its pool play finale Friday night against Post 499/Fike. The win was its third straight, doubling the team’s total for the season.
“We’re feeling amazing right now,” Pleacher said. “We had a tough league and then we came into this tournament like we don’t know how we’re going to do. And we started out good.”