When you play a 14-game schedule in three and a half weeks as a baseball team, priority number one is pitching. Unfortunately for Ashland Post 206, pitching experience is what they lack the most, and it has cost them early in this American Legion season.
Tuesday night, they fell behind 5-0 in the first inning to West End Post 361, and, despite their best offensive output of the year to this point, Post 206 lost an 11-7 slugfest at Atlee High School.
“If you take away that first inning, we win the game,” said Post 206 coach Cody Crawley. “We’re getting better offensively with each game, but we need pitching.”
This time it was Hunter West hit hard early, as Post 361 turned two doubles, three singles and a walk into those five first inning runs. Post 206 got one back in the second when Hunter McKinney singled home Chris Siefke. But West allowed two more runs in the fifth thanks to three consecutive singles and a sacrifice fly to up the lead to 7-1.
The best inning for 206 was their fifth inning response. After walks to Cole Potridge and Brett Whitlow, Joe Buehren singled to center. An error fielding the ball by Craig McLane allowed Potridge to race home. Dylan Stowell’s single plated Whitlow, then Conal Cavanaugh’s single sent Buehren home. Stowell advanced to third on the play, then scored when Post 361 starter Tyler Magee uncorked a wild pitch. It was 7-5, and a brand new game.
But it didn’t take long for 361 to respond, scoring three in the sixth inning. Their lead was not threatened again.
With the loss, Post 206 fell to 0-4, with the week ahead handing them no favors. They go to rival, and unbeaten, Mechanicsville Post 175 Friday, then travel to James River High School in Chesterfield Saturday at noon to face Colonial Heights Post 284 Buccaneers on District 11’s annual College Day.
“We’ll take some batting practice, but I want to give the guys some time to rest,” Crawley noted, obviously thinking about his pitching staff. “This is a sprint, not a marathon.”