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Post 95 late rally falls short

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By Jonathan Stark

The Senior Legion team couldn't beat an early deficit or holes in its roster to top Centralia on Tuesday. Post 95 fell 8-6.

"The guys we had battled," coach Steve Hosick said.

A couple of missing players on Tuesday night forced Hosick to put some players out of position on defense and put Andy Hosick, who has a fractured left wrist, on the mound.

Hosick fractured his non-throwing wrist earlier in the season and has been limited to pitching. He was able to get out of the first inning with just one blemish on his line. Back-to-back singles turned into a 1-0 lead for Centralia following an error in the outfield by Brendan Pesko, from Hillsboro, who normally plays second base.

Pesko's brother, Jordan Pesko, was able to help tie the game back up with a double to right field that eventually turned into a run on a ground out by Reed Cerutti.

Andy Hosick and the defense fell into some more trouble in the top of the second and third innings, as Centralia scored six more runs to make it a 7-1 game. Hosick wouldn't make it out of the third, as Kyle Hawkins was brought on to pitch with two outs.

"I wanted to try to keep Andy in the ball game for as long as I could, but when he puts guys on base and gets behind in the count, it's not fair to the other kids," Hosick said.

Vandalia was able to get a run back in the bottom of the third. Troy Kimbro singled to lead off the frame and moved up to third on a fielder's choice and a single by Cerutti. Cody Wimberly flied out to center field, deep enough for Kimbro to tag up and score.

Hawkins gave up his only run of the night in the fourth inning; it was unearned. The Centralia batter reached on an error, moved up to third on a double and scored on a sacrifice to second base.

Down 8-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh, Vandalia staged a comeback.

"I told the kids 'We've got one at-bat to try to win a ball game'," Hosick said.

Kimbro led off the frame, taking a pitch in the back, and Pesko followed with a single. Cerutti drove in his second and third runs of the game on a misplayed ball to center field that allowed him to reach third base. He scored on an error during Ryan Thiele's at-bat. Thiele joined the team this week after originally deciding not to play this summer.

Hawkins singled to left and Zach Thompson doubled to center field, scoring Thiele. Vandalia trailed, 8-6, with Hawkins on third, Thompson, the tying run, on second and Pesko, the go-ahead run, at the plate with two out.

Pesko fought off a pitch inside, popping it up down the third baseline. Just before the pitcher caught the ball, he ran into Hawkins, who was running home and was called out for offensive interference.

Cerutti went 2-for-4 with three runs batted in.

"Reed is a good leader of kids," Hosick said. "I'm glad he's part of this."

Vandalia has a packed weekend ahead. Post 95 will play at Pickneyville on Friday at 2 p.m. On Saturday, it will play a doubleheader at Murphysboro, starting at 1 p.m.

On Monday, Vandalia will face Centralia again at Centralia, starting at 6 p.m. On Tuesday, it will host Aviston at 6 p.m.