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The Fourth of July was on Monday, but the Vandalia and Trenton Jr. Legion baseball teams waited until Tuesday to set off their fireworks.
Twenty-six runs were scored, coaches and umpires traded words several times and one assistant coach was ejected during a 19-7 Trenton win in the first game of a doubleheader.
“Sometimes, you lose your cool when you don’t want to, and it’s not something we are proud of,” said Vandalia coach TK Kinkead, who lost one of his assistant coaches to the ejection. “I think that affected us in the second half of the game.”
Prior to the ejection at the end of the third inning, Post 95 had started a comeback from a 10-run deficit.
Vandalia trailed 10-0 after the top of the first inning saw 14 Trenton hitters come to the plate and the first nine reach base. But in the bottom of the frame, Post 95 got an RBI double from Matt Campbell.
Quinn Wadkins relieved Johnnie Clift, who Kinkead said has been one of Post 95’s best pitchers this season, in the second inning and struck out two batters.
Vandalia then responded by scoring six runs in the bottom of the second – including a three-run home run by Connor Beasley – to cut their deficit to just three.
Garrett Bartels (one) and Campbell (two) also earned RBI in the inning after they both reached on errors.
“Earlier in the year, if something like (going down by 10) would have happened, we would have been dead,” Kinkead said. “But we came back and scored seven. I was proud to see them come back the way they did.”
Trenton scored five more runs in the next inning, which was briefly delayed by Trenton’s coach arguing that smoke from a barbecue grill at the concession stand was affecting his hitters’ view of pitches, and Post 95 turned to Beasley to pitch the rest of the game.
Vandalia threatened in the bottom of the inning after Bartels reached first base on a fielder’s choice, advanced to second on an error on a pickoff attempt and to third on a sacrifice fly.
Josh Lawson then hustled down the line on a sharp grounder to the first baseman, who bobbled the ball briefly but appeared to beat Lawson to the bag by about a half-step, to end the third inning.
Lawson was just 1-for-4 in the game from the leadoff spot, but on each of his outs, he sprinted to first base.
“Josh is coming around,” Kinkead said. “This is his first year or organized ball for awhile, and he is electric.
“Whenever he starts running, everybody gets excited.”
Post 95 had just two hits in the last two innings, however, and only one other ball was hit to the outfield. Trenton added its final three runs in the fourth after getting its second three-run home run of the game.
Trenton’s coach argued with umpires for the second time in the game about a close call at second base that ended that inning, despite his team’s lead, but he was not ejected.