You’re 1-2 and have to play five games in five days.
It’s the perfect recipe for getting a baseball season back on track.
After a home win last Tuesday, Mechanicsville Post 175 made the most of a tough weekend schedule by winning four games in 47 hours, including two in one day at different locations, three on the road, and, of course, one interrupted by rain.
The crazy weekend began Friday night with their lone home game on a very windy evening. Colonial Heights Post 284P forced 175 starter Michael Thomas to throw nearly 40 pitches in the first inning alone, scoring once but leaving the bases loaded. Thomas would settle down, aided by two inning-ending double plays started by second baseman Josh Shepherd, while the Mechanicsville offense cranked up, scoring eight runs in the first three innings.
Thomas pitched five innings, Luke Bolka and Sean King homered, and Mechanicsville wrapped it up early, winning 14-4 in seven innings.
Post 175 had no time to revel in the victory, hitting the road early Saturday for a makeup game with Colonial Heights Post 284B, coming away with a 6-2 win at Shepherd Stadium. After a late lunch break, it was over to L.C. Bird High School to avenge their last loss, to South Richmond Post 137. Post 175 finished the unorthodox sweep Saturday with a 4-2 win, drawing Mechanicsville into a tie for second in the loss column with South Richmond.
“We are starting to take advantage of opportunities. We’re making better contact with the ball and hits are falling,” said Mechanicsville head coach Eddie Gates. “The last few games, we have had the attitude of putting teams away.”
With an assist from Mother Nature, Post 175 put Powhatan Post 201 away, or so it seemed, on Sunday. With heavy rain falling just a few miles from Baltimore Stadium at Powhatan High School, Post 175 entered into a slugfest with Post 201, at one time cruising to an 11-3 lead. Mechanicsville took a quick 3-0 lead in the first which was matched by Powhatan in their half of the frame.
Cody Powers scored with the bases loaded on a fielders choice by Dalton Ruch to give Mechanicsville the lead for good at 4-3 in the second inning. Patrick Holler then entered the game on the mound for Post 175, starter Evan Swecker having had his day end early due to an undisclosed injury. Gates told the Herald-Progress Swecker is “day-to-day.”
Holler pitched two strong innings, then saw his teammates explode for six runs in the fourth for that 11-3 edge. But Post 201 loaded the bases in their half of the fourth for Colin Lawless, who promptly launched a grand slam over the right field wall. Post 201 was alive, down just 11-7.
“Our pitching is not as deep, however, it is improving,” Gates noted. “Pitchers are throwing more innings and getting ahead of the batters. This helps in going longer into the game.”
It also helped to quell Post 201’s comeback. Though he walked two in the fifth, Holler also struck out two, allowing just one more run, while Post 175 benefited from a two-run homer from Michael Thomas to help extend the lead to its eventual 15-8 conclusion.
Just before the top of the sixth ended, the rain that had danced around the game finally took over, deluging the field in a matter of moments. Coaches and umpires conferred, and it was official. Post 175’s winning streak was at five, their record 6-2 overall.
The key to the weekend success was a deep bench and an ability to win a variety of types of games, from the slugfest to, by 2013 standards, the pitchers duel. This ability will serve Gates and his men well as they enter the final two weeks of the regular season.
Post 175 was scheduled to host Lakeside Post 125 Tuesday for a doubleheader that was after holiday press time, and next play another doubleheader at two locations on Saturday, at Midlothian Post 186 in a makeup game at noon, then home to Atlee for a rematch with Powhatan Post 201 at 7 p.m.