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Junior Legion swept by Effingham

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By Jonathan Stark

Vandalia was swept in a doubleheader against Effingham last Wednesday. The Vandals failed to capitalize on opportunities, and errors on routine ground balls and dropped fly balls allowed Effingham second-chance opportunities.

“You have to take care of your pitcher, and when a pitcher gets ground balls and fly balls, you have to take care of him and make those plays,” coach Luke Hohlt said. “A few guys are playing out of position and we’re kind of short-handed. They have to learn to make the plays when they’re out of position.”

Effingham 9 - Vandalia 0

Post 95 trailed the whole first game. A three run third inning put Effingham up 4-0.

In the top of the fourth Vandalia’s first two batters reached base via walks but the next three were retired, squandering a chance to get on the board with two runners in scoring position.

Effingham doubleed their run total in the fourth with four more runs. A dropped fly ball in the outfield allowed runners to move up into scoring position on second and third, and the next batter ripped a line drive to left scoring the two men on.

It wasn’t until the top of the sixth that Vandalia got its first hit, Ian Murrell's single down the left-field line. Kyle Hawkins followed with a Texas-leaguer that dropped in shallow right, moving Murrell up to third, with just one out.

The next two batters were retired, and nother scoring chance gone to waste.

Post 95 would lose 9-0.

The team combined for 14 strikeouts.

“We have to put the ball in play,” Hohlt said. “I don’t know how many of those (strikeouts) were looking, too many of them. I just told the guys there’s no excuse for striking out looking. It’s unacceptable.

"You have to do a better job. You have to make the defense work at least a little bit by swing the bat. That’s just something we’re going to have to work on and it’s a work in progress.”

TK Kinkead was on the hill for the Vandals. He went the full six innings, surrendering nine runs.

Effingham 11 - Vandalia 1

Game two some brought offense for Vandalia in the early goings.

Murrell reached base on a walk in the top of the second and he eventually moved up to third. He would score on a sacrifice fly, giving Post 95 a 1-0 edge.

Effingham would answer in the bottom of the second with the help of some miscues on the part of the Vandals defense.

With a runner on third, a slow roller out to the shortstop was misplayed, allowing the run to score and the batter to be safe at first.

An RBI double for Effingham would make it a 2-1 game. With runners on second and third, a line drive off the tip of the shortstop's glove allowed another run to come in.  

A botched double play and base hit to right gave Effingham a 5-1 lead by the time Vandalia could get out of the inning,

Vandalia’s pitching and defense gave up six more runs in the bottom of the third, including a two-run triple off the wall. Post 95 was facing a 10-run rule, down 11-1.

Hohlt brought in Murrell to pitch in the bottom of the fourth, he promptly retired the first three batters he faced.

In their last chance to stave off a 10-run loss, Vandalia was able to get two men on, with one out. A fielder’s choice put runners on first and second with two outs. They would be left stranded though as a ground ball ended the game. The Vandalia’s lost 11-1.

“I thought we competed a little more in game two,” Hohlt said. “We had guys in scoring position more and that’s what you have to do every inning. You have to have guys in scoring position every inning, put the pressure on (the defense) and start believing in yourself and get the job done.”

Hohlt said that there’s no reason why this team can’t score in the summer league, when they put up 16 runs in Vandalia’s regional win over Shelbyville.

“Hopefully we can get this team shaped up so by the time spring rolls around next year, we’ll have a fully rounded team,” Hohlt said.

Saturday’s doubleheader against T-Town was canceled due to rain.