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Sr. Legion squad cools after fast start

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Post 95 struggles in three games at New Baden Wooden Bat Classic

By Andrew Harner

NEW BADEN – After starting the season by scattering 32 hits in three games, the Vandalia Sr. Legion offense has quieted down, scratching out just 15 hits in three losses at the New Baden Wooden Bat Classic.

In the final two games of the event on Saturday, Post 95 (3-4) fell to Salem, 3-2, in 10 innings and was shut out by Imperial, Mo., 2-0.

“Everybody is pressing,” said coach Andy Rincker. “We have some guys gone, and people are trying to do too much, so we’re struggling a little bit.”

Imperial scored a pair of unearned runs in the first inning to spoil an otherwise stellar outing from Vandalia’s pitcher. Derek Harmeier (2-1) struck out six over six innings, while allowing one hit and one walk.

He has been by far Post 95’s best pitcher on the season, allowing just one earned run through 18 innings of work for a 0.50 earned-run average. Opponents are hitting just .159 against him (11-for-69).

“He was fantastic,” Rincker said. “That first inning bothered him, but then he went out and took the game over.”

Harmeier threw first-pitch strikes to all but five hitters, but two first-inning errors, a passed ball and a single helped Imperial get all of the runs it needed to back up a standout performance from Chad Jungwalter.

Jungwalter had Vandalia’s hitters frustrated all game, retiring the first 11 batters and keeping Post 95 hitless through the first five innings.

Ian Murrell broke up the no-hitter with a flare to right field, and Dylan Bone would also single in the seventh. Post 95’s only other runner was Mitch Wolff, who walked in the fourth, but none of the three made it to second base.

“He threw a lot of strikes, and when you do that, you give yourself a good chance to win,” Rincker said. “He commanded the strike zone with multiple pitches, and that gave our guys a lot of fits.”

Bone and Murrell have been Vandalia’s best hitters this season, with both having a hit in all three games of the tournament. Both players have reached base in each of the six games they have played this season.

Bone leads Post 95 with a .350 batting average and a .458 on-base percentage, and Murrell is second, with a .333 average and a .455 OBP.

Box score
Saturday, June 9
Imperial 2
Vandalia 0
V: 0-0-0-0-0-0-0—0-2-3
I: 2-0-0-0-0-0-X—2-1-0
WP: Jungwalter; 7 IP, 7 K
LP: Harmeier (2-1); 6 IP, 6 K, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB
Post 95: Bone, 1-for-3; Murrell, 1-for-3; Wolff, BB.
Record: 3-4

***
Against Salem on Saturday morning, it took 10 innings for Salem to come away with the 3-2 victory, spoiling a strong start from Dalton Goldsmith.

Goldsmith tossed nine innings, but an error and two hits in the 10th inning allowed Post 128 to produce a run to seal the victory.

Salem had a 2-1 advantage after scoring a run in the top of the seventh, but Blaine Scholes doubled to open the bottom of the frame, and he scored on Wolff’s two-out single to force extra innings.

Murrell singled in the second and scored on a hit by Scholes to tie the game at one.

Box score
Saturday, June 9
Salem 3
Vandalia 2
S: 1-0-0-0-0-0-1-0-0-1—3-12-1
V: 0-1-0-0-0-0-1-0-0-0—2-7-2
LP: Goldsmith (0-1); 9 IP, 4 K, 2 R, 1 ER, 11 H, 1 BB
Post 95: Scholes, 2-for-4, RBI, run; Murrell, 2-for-4, run; Bone, 1-for-5, 2 SB; Wolff, 1-for-5, RBI; Cy Perfetti, sac bunt, HBP; Huber, BB; Kyle Bloemker, BB.
Record: 3-3

***
In the first game of the tournament last Thursday, two big innings gave New Baden an 8-4 victory.

New Baden scored three times in the second and five times in the fifth, putting Post 95 too far far behind to recover with only six hits and six free passes.

Wolff scored in the first when Murrell drew a bases-loaded, two-out walk, but New Baden got back-to-back RBI hits in the second to take a 3-1 lead.

Brady Huber singled and scored in the fourth to cut down that lead, before New Baden took advantage of five hits and two errors in the fifth to open up a big lead.

Murrell reached on an error to open the sixth, and he scored on a double by Zahradka. Scholes then brought home Zahradka, who had advanced to third on a wild pitch, by bouncing into a fielder’s choice.  

Box score
Thursday, June 7
New Baden 8
Vandalia 4
NB: 0-3-0-0-5-0-0—8-11-2
V:   1-0-0-1-0-2-0—4-6-3
LP: Bone (1-1); 4+ IP, 4 K, 7 R, 6 ER, 10 H, 2 BB
Post 95: Zahradka, 1-for-2, 2B, RBI, run, sac fly; Murrell, 1-for-3, RBI, run, BB; Huber, 1-for-2, run, BB, HBP; Wolff, 1-for-4, run; Bone, 1-for-3, BB; Scholes, RBI, sac bunt; Dathan Berning, 1-for-4; Perfetti, HBP; Brady McDowell, HBP.
Record: 3-2

***
Monday’s game against Robinison was canceled, and the Sr. Legion squad will have a busy week over the next seven days.

On Wednesday, the team went back to New Baden for a doubleheader at 6 p.m., and on Friday, Post 95 will play a nine-inning home game against Salem at 6:30 p.m.

The team travels to Carlyle for a 4 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday and hosts Effingham in a home doubleheader at 6 p.m. next Tuesday.