WAYNESBORO – It was almost too easy for American Legion.
The team that had to win a playoff game last Friday to qualify for the Waynesboro Youth League Major Division best-of-three championship series against top-seeded Waynesboro Construction rolled to a 10-0 victory in a game shortened to four innings due to the 10-run rule.
American Legion, playing as the visiting team Monday evening in a game played on the Clayton Avenue south field, scored three runs in the first inning and three more in the second to take a commanding lead.
“My focus for tonight’s game was, I thought if I could get through the first two innings – if Kadyn and Luke could get us through the first two innings – I knew I had Cam and Jack Knepper in to pitch. I knew they were two of the strongest pitchers in the league and if we could get the lead early, I knew they might have a lot of trouble coming back,” said American Legion manager Justin Biser.
Game 2 is Tuesday at 7 p.m.
“I’ve also played this team and other teams in this league when I’ve been up big and they have come back,” Biser said. “It’s always an up and down battle around here; we just happened to get lucky tonight and get the runs and get out of it.
“It seemed like everybody stepped up in this game. They all seemed to find their stride tonight and did what they needed to.”
Legion also dominated on the pitcher’s mound. The one-two-three combination of Kadyn Myers, Luke Gorzelsky and Camryn Reed allowed only four baserunners in the game and none got past second base. Hadyn Hicks, who pitched the first two innings for Wacco, doubled with one out. Mason Nickel drew a two-out walk, but Myers got the next batter to ground into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
By that time, American Legion led 3-0 thanks to a first inning that saw the visitors hit three singles, a double and a walk. Kaden Lewis singled, and Myers bunted his way on base. Jack Knepper singled, and Reed doubled. Knepper scored on a passed ball to make it 3-0.
Legion matched its scoring output of the first inning in the second stanza, scoring all three runs with two outs. Myers singled and scored on a double off the bat of Knepper. Reed walked and stole second. Then, Gorzelsky hit a two-run double to up the score to 6-0.
Myers gave way to Gorzelsky on the mound, who struck out the side. The only blemish was a two-out walk.
Nickel also struck out the side for Waynesboro Construction in the top of the third inning, something the home team needed to bolster its morale and hope for a better showing at the plate in the bottom of the inning.
But Reed used some heat to keep the Wacco bats silent. Reed struck out two battes, and after issuing a walk, induced an inning-ending fielder’s choice.
American Legion plated four runs in the top of the fourth to make a 10-run rule game possible. Reed struck out two more batters in the bottom of the inning and picked up an assist when he fielded a dribbler and threw to first for the first out of the inning.