WAYNESBORO – Izzy Reed was on his A-game Monday evening at Robinson Field.
The former Waynesboro Indians ace and now a pitcher for Hagerstown Community College, Reed pitched seven solid innings against McConnellsburg Post 561 in a Franklin County American Legion League baseball game, while Waynesboro’s defense backed up Reed with seven solid innings of its own.
Reed, a hard-throwing right hander who showed his versatility and velocity against the visiting Post 561 batters, walked only one hitter and struck out eight. The defense did the rest, including a double play in the top of the fifth and a nifty flip throw by shortstop Josh Clapsaddle against his body to second baseman Caden Green for a key force out in the top of the seventh inning.
The play was key because it would have given McConnellsburg runners on first and second during an inning that Post 561 scored a run that cut the Post 15 lead to 3-2, which proved to be the final score – thanks in part to two strikeouts from the arm of Reed.
Reed struck out the first batter but plunked the next batter on the back of his batting helmet. With the tying run at the plate, the next hitter singled. Then came the fielder’s choice that resulted in the second out and allowed the hit batsman to score.
The win was Waynesboro’s fourth straight in the FCALL. Its next contest is Wednesday at Fort Loudon at Fannett-Metal High School, an hour away. Waynesboro and Fort Loudon are tied for second place in the league with 7-3 records. Chambersburg is atop the standings at 8-2.
On Friday, Post 15 travels a much shorter distance to play Greencastle.
“We kind of regathered ourselves,” said Post 15 manager Dan McCleaf. “We knew our backs were against the wall. I told them before the game that every game is a playoff game. We have to run the table.”
Reed, who gave up four hits, is the team’s most experienced pitcher. And, having pitched at the college level this year, there was some added pressure due to that status.
“It’s a lot of pressure because a lot more people know my name,” Reed said after striking out a McConnellsburg batter for the game’s final out. “Especially since I’ve been pitching for three years. There’s high expectations; people are expecting me to bring my A-game.
“I put pressure on myself, too. I always expect to throw a perfect game – a no-hitter, things like that. It’s always been like that.”
Two of Waynesboro’s run came on balks, including the pivotal third run of the game that was, in the end, the winning run. Clapsaddle reached base on an infield error with two outs in the home fifth inning. He used his legs to get to third on two stolen bases and scored on a balk.
Post 15 plated two runs in the third inning. Catcher Evan Swanson walked. He was replaced on the base path by courtesy runner Bradley Butts, who, with two outs, advanced to second base on a balk. He scored on a base hit off the bat of Dylan Morgan, who reached third on two passed balls and scored on a balk to give Waynesboro a 2-1 lead.
The two runs erased a 1-0 McConnellsburg lead, which occurred in the top of the first inning.
Pitching with a lead no doubt helped Reed pitch with a bit more relish. It also took some pressure off him.
“I always pitch better when I’m loose,” he said. “I felt loose today; it felt good, too, because I got a lot of help from my defense. Big credit goes to Josh (Clapsaddle), Caden (Green) and Garrett (Beaver), who stepped up. I got a lot more in sync with Evan.”
It was the Clapsaddle-Green-Fred Guarino combination that produced the double play in the third inning. Then, Clapsaddle worked some magic when he flipped a hard grounder to Green for the force out in the top of the seventh.
Reed said it was his best outing of the season.
“I had everything working today – fast ball, curve ball, changeup – it was all good. I was throwing all for strikes.”