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Late rally sinks Post 33 in Alton

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Meredith Post 33's Zach Atwell dives back to the bag safely at first base during his team's 8-6 loss to Alton Post 72 in Junior Legion baseball action on July 10 at Prospect Mountain High School. Atwell had three hits on the night. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
July 14, 2014
ALTON On the road in need of a big win, the Meredith Griggs-Wyatt Post 33 Junior Legion baseball team very much looked in control and destined for one on July 10.

But host Alton Post 72 stole the District A victory with five runs in the sixth inning at Prospect Mountain High School, coming from behind for an 8-6 victory.

Post 33 never trailed until the sixth, as the visitors led 6-3 entering the frame and looked in good shape to pick up their second win of the season. But shaky defense led to an Alton rally, as two errors and a single allowed the hosts to load the bases with no outs. A two-run double from Connor Loan pulled Post 72 within 6-5, though Meredith pitcher Dylan Sheehan got a strikeout and a fielder's choice put out at the plate to put 33 within one out of escaping the jam with the lead. But Will Treuel came through with a two-run double to deep left field, putting Alton on top 7-6. The hosts would tack on one more run with another double, as the squad plated five runs in the sixth to turn a 6-3 deficit into an 8-6 advantage entering the seventh.

Meredith tried to claw back in its last at bat in the top of the seventh, as Sheehan walked to lead off. He was erased when he was picked off first base however, proving to be a sign of things to come in the inning. Chris Taylor was hit by a pitch and Collin Sheehan walked to put the tying runs on base with one out. But Taylor was gunned down trying to steal third base, the second runner to get thrown out on the base paths for 33, and Alton got a strikeout to end the inning and seal the victory.

Post 33 did get off to a good start in this one, heeding the advice of head coach Paul Atwell in jumping out to a lead right away. Garrett Kearney walked to lead off the top of the first, and he wound up scoring on a wild pitch later in the frame to make it 1-0. Zach Atwell singled with one out, and he later scored on an RBI ground out from Dylan Sheehan. Catcher Griffin Nyhan made it 3-0 when he walked and eventually scored on a successful first and third base double steal situation with Taylor.

Alton closed the gap with a run in the bottom of the first to make it 3-1, and the hosts tacked on two more in the second to tie the game at 3-3.

But Post 33 bounced back, scoring twice in the third inning to regain an advantage at 5-3. Atwell singled to lead things off, and he stole second base to put a runner in scoring position. Dylan Sheehan singled him to third base and stole second himself, and Atwell scampered home on a passed ball. Sheehan would eventually come around when Alton was called for a balk.

Sheehan was in cruise control during the middle innings, as he allowed just two base runners total in the third, fourth and fifth innings. The left-hander set Alton down in order 1-2-3 in the fifth, striking out two hitters before getting a comebacker to the mound to finish it off.

Meredith added an insurance run in the top of the fourth, as Andrew Taylor was hit by a pitch to open the frame and took second when Matt Tolman laid down a perfect bunt and reached base himself. Kearney scored Taylor when his hot shot to third base got through into the outfield, putting the visitors on top 6-3.

Sheehan went the distance on the mound for Meredith, striking out three Alton batters while walking two. He allowed seven hits, with just three of his eight runs being earned in the loss. Alton pitcher Brian Borelli came on in relief in the second inning to pick up the win, as he went five innings and recorded eight strikeouts, four hits and four walks.

Atwell paced the Post 33 offense, as the three-hole hitter was 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Kearney was on base all four times, as he singled, walked twice and reached on an error.

Post 33's regular season winds down this week, with games tonight against Plymouth (5:30 p.m.) and Saturday against Lebanon (1 p.m.) in the finale. Both games are slated to be played at Prescott Park in Meredith.

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