Post 423 slugs its way to playoffs
Rutherford County (5-10) needed two wins over the weekend and to stay in the Area IV playoff hunt and they got them in convincing fashion.
A win on Monday afternoon sealed Post 423’s entrance into the playoffs.
Post 423 clobbered Haywood (18-0) and Burke County (13-3) by a combined score of 31-3 to reach the brink of postseason. Rutherford County Post 423 upset Bobby Reynolds and Cherryville Post 100 8-2 Monday afternoon.
The win is the third in a row for Rutherford County as they close the regular season at 6-10. The victory also vaults them into at least the seveth seed in the upcoming Area IV playoffs. Post 423 could climb as high as the sixth seed if Shelby defeats Haywood.
“We finally started to swing the bat and got some clutch hits,” said Post 423 manager Sam Hooper. “And what Brock (Helton) did for us on the mound was just amazing. He’s normally our closer, but he had not had much opportunity to pitch so we decided to stretch him out. He came through with a complete game and a win when we needed it.”
Faced with a must-win situation Sunday against Burke, Rutherford County fell into an early 2-0 hole in the first inning. An error by second baseman Colton Snethen led to an unearned run while Ray Price’s RBI single capped the scoring in the top of the first.
After Post 423 went in order in the bottom half, Helton settled down, and would not allow another hit until the seventh.
Post 423 took advantage by getting on the board in the third. Snethen was hit to start the inning, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored when Helton smacked a single down first base line. Dylan Parris turned the same trick over third base to put runners on the corners. A wild pitch plated Helton while a single up the middle by Joel McDaniel scored Parris as Rutherford took a 3-2 lead.
Helton worked another quick inning on the mound then he drove in Strickland with a sacrifice fly to give his team a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the inning. Post 423 did run into trouble in the fifth after a walk and a pair of errors by Will Odom allowed a run to score. Helton bore down and struck out Luke Baker to preserve a 4-3 lead.
Odom redeemed himself leading off the bottom half with a double into the left field corner. One out later, McDaniel also doubled to push the lead back to two runs at 5-3. Rutherford made a bid to get more runs, but McDaniel was picked off to end the inning.
Post 423 stole another run in the sixth. Brent McCollum was hit by pitch and moved up on a balk. After an infield hit by Helton, the first baseman took his time getting the ball back to the mound and McCollum broke for home and slid in under the tag. Parris followed with an RBI double and Odom rolled a two run single through the left side. By the time the dust settled, Post 423 had broken the game open 9-3.
After Helton worked out of a bases loaded jam in the seventh, Post 423 ended the game early in their final at bat. After Rutherford County loaded the bases with no outs, McCollum lined a two run single over third to make the score 11-3. After they reloaded the bases, Fincher reached on an error and two more runners came home to send Post 423 to the 13-3 mercy rule win.
If they reach the playoffs, Rutherford County would open their best-of-five playoff series on the road today before returning to either McNair Field or R-S Central Wednesday for game two.
at R-S Central High School
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Post 423 13, Post 21 3
Post 21^200 010 0 — 3
Post 423^003 114 4 — 13
WP: B. Helton
LP: L. Kinkaid