The Post 115 Bears ended their season in the quarterfinals of the Class B West Region Legion Tournament in extra innings on a walk-off single by one of Surrey’s best hitters.
By COLE BENZ
Record Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Post 115 Bears ended their season in the quarterfinals of the Class B West Region Legion Tournament in extra innings on a walk-off single by one of Surrey’s best hitters. The final score was Surrey 4, Hettinger 3.
Brandon Pierce was on the mound in the bottom of the ninth inning with the game tied at 3-3 when he threw a curve ball to the Surrey batter. The hitter ducked to avoid the inside pitch and the ball hit the brim of his helmet, sending him first base.
That runner would eventually make it to third when Surrey’s best hitter came to the plate.
John Reiten, who had started on the mound for Surrey and went seven strong innings, was facing a 2-1 count when head coach Nolan Dix conversed with his coaching staff about intentionally walking him.
“I looked at both assistant coaches and I said ‘we should walk this guy,’” Dix said. “I said ‘he’s their best hitter.’”
Pierce then threw a curve that found the strike zone to even the count at 2-2, but then Reiten did his damage. He took the next pitch and found a hole in the defense, lacing a line drive into open space and driving in the winning run.
“That was my bad,” Dix said. “I should have just went with my gut instinct and walked him, but we didn’t.”
The Bears tied the game in the top of the seventh inning on an error. Alex Bartholomay was on third base with two outs, and Surrey leading 3-2. Brett Christopherson grounded to the third baseman who overthrew the ball to first on the putout, allowing Bartholomay to make it home safe and tie the game.
After throwing 101 pitches, Dix sent his ace pitcher, Pierce, to the mound to relieve Jarad Mattis, who started and went six innings. Mattis would end his day with three earned runs, five hits and four strikeouts. Mattis also had seven walks
Pierce went three innings, had one earned run, a strikeout, a walk, and a hit batsman. He had a three-up-three-down seventh inning. He issued his walk and earned his strikeout before getting out of the eighth. He allowed the deciding run in the ninth and final frame after hitting his first batter.
Holding Surrey to only three runs after issuing eight walks and a hit batsman says a lot about the defensive game of the Bears.
“[Our] defense played well,” Dix said.
The Bears played an error-free game and had to knock down at least five groundouts to stay in the game.
Cole Osendorf went 1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored. He tripled to lead off the sixth inning and was driven home by Pierce. Pierce went 1-for-4 with an run batted in.
Mattis went 1-for-4, and Bartholomay went 1-for-4 with a run scored. Both Christopherson and Damon Mellmer went 1-for-4.
The Bears went 8-9 in the regular season and 2-2 in the postseason, and Dix thought his team played well, and team chemistry was at high level.
“All the kids played well together,” Dix said. “I think [the team] played well, I think they enjoyed the season.”
Post 115 is made up of athletes from Bowman, Scranton, Hettinger, and New England.
Dix, who coaches the high school team, said he saw a significant improvement from his players since the Night Hawks started in March, and he expects some of that talent to translate to next season.
“We [have] a lot of good hitters [coming] back,” he said.
The legion team should be getting some fresh talent too, with kids aging out of the Babe Ruth league and playing for Post 115, though some will still be eligible to play on both teams.
Dix will have to work on replacing some talent lost to the age rule next season. Each of Brandon Pierce, Damon Mellmer, Dan Baesler, Ryan Sime and Cole Osendorf will not be eligible to play next year.
Dix said there will be a meeting in September regarding next season. On the docket for discussion is realignment. Some teams will be the subject of moving up to Class A, which Dix said Post 115 could be a candidate for.
The head coach also said he wants to bring his team to a tournament or two next year, in hopes of getting his squad some experience against a wider variety of competition.