Dragoons make a huge statement in two winsTatham’s bat leads Post 47 past Caldwell County, while pitchers Roberts, Fox and Kerslake shutdown Asheville
Confidence is not something the Haywood Post 47 American Legion Baseball Club lacks.
With an abundance of quality hitters, an improving defense, the Dragoons were hoping to be in the discussion when it comes to the Area IV West Division elite clubs.
All Post 47 needed was one statement win.
The Dragoons got that and more, handing first-place Caldwell County Post 29 its first West Division loss, 9-8, in 11 innings on Tuesday night and knocking off second place Asheville Post 70, 7-3, on Wednesday night at Tuscola Ballpark.
Two statement wins can’t help but add to that level of the Dragoons’ confidence.
“That guys made big statements beating Caldwell and Asheville in back-to-back nights,” said Post 47 Manager Caleb McConnell. “But now comes the real test for the guys. The word is out. Everyone is going to be ready for us. Our pitching and defense has to continue to get better and our bats got to be on every time we step out on the field. It’s going to be a battle all the way to the end of the season.”
Haywood Post 47 (3-2) moved into a tie for second place in the Area IV West Division standings with Hickory Post 48, while Caldwell Post 29 dropped to 4-1 in the West Division, 10-2 overall.
Asheville Post 70 sank to 3-3 overall in the West.
On deck for the Dragoons are back-to-back Area IV West Division games with Burke County Post 21, beginning with a Monday night road game in Morganton and home in the friendly confines of Tuscola Ballpark for a 7:05 p.m. contest Tuesday night.
Against Caldwell County, Haywood Post 47 finished with 11 hits as Thomas Tatham (Pisgah), Cal Raleigh (Smoky Mountain) and Mark Thompson (Smoky Mountain) had three hits each.
However, Tatham drove in seven of Post 47’s nine runs with three hits (3-for-6), including a two-RBI single, a three-RBI double and a tape-measure, two-run homer to left in the bottom of the sixth to give the Dragoons an 8-7 lead.
Holt Underwood pitched a spotless 10th and 11th innings, striking out one and walking two to pick up the win for the Dragoons.
Caldwell County, however, had only two hits but took full advantage of 14 walks and five fielding errors.
Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning in Wednesday night’s contest against visiting Asheville Post 70, the Dragoons rallied for six runs to take a 7-3 lead, which stood for the final three innings.
Haywood Post 47 had only five hits against four Asheville pitchers. Raleigh went 2-for-4 with two RBI, while Tatham drove in one run with a single and Garrett Holland had a sharp single to center to start the six-run rally.
Chance Roberts (Hiwassee Dam) started and went into the sixth, allowing three hits, two earn runs, struck out five batters.
He was relieved by Mason Fox (Pisgah) who shut the door in his two innings on the mound to get the win for the Dragoons.
Forrest Kerslake (Tuscola) tossed the final two innings, allowing no hits and striking out two batters.