The Senior Legion had a busy week, playing seven games in as many days, winning three games and picking up a sweep of a talented Lawrence County team on Saturday. Post 95 is 10-8 this summer.
Granite City 11
Vandalia lost to Granite City, 11-1, on Monday night. Trevor Montgomery, who has made few spot starts with the Senior Legion team, went 2-for-3 from the designated hitter spot. Cody Wimberly went 2-for-2 with a walk. Vandalia had six hits.
Granite City had no trouble getting on base and scoring. It sent eight batters to the plate in the first inning alone, scoring four runs. Post 95 was able to keep them off the board for the next two innings, but GC scored three runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth inning to win by means of the 10-run rule.
Post 95 will be at home Thursday, hosting a doubleheader against Mt. Vernon at 6 p.m. On Sunday afternoon, Vandalia will play Greenfield at Jerseyville at 3:30 p.m. and Jerseyville immediately after. On Tuesday night, they’ll return home to host Centralia at 6 p.m., and Effingham for two games on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Vandalia got its first doubleheader sweep of the year on Saturday, taking down Lawrence County in consecutive games.
"When our pitchers show up and throw the ball well, we’re going to be hard to beat at times," coach Steve Hosick said. "We hit the ball well today. In the first game, it was nice to see some guys put up some good home runs and some good hits."
In game one, Kyle Hawkins pitched a shutout, backed up by a three-home run performance by his offense. Vandalia won 10-0 in six innings.
Lawrence County was able to get runners on base in nearly every inning, but Hawkins and the defense never let them score. Vandalia turned a double play in the second inning to get out of trouble, and Hawkins struck out seven batters, three of which to end an inning.
"I felt pretty good out there," Hawkins said. "I felt like on a couple of those fastballs, I was trying too hard, throwing it too low. I thought my curveball was working really well, and that helped me out in the last inning."
Zach Thompson scored Vandalia’s first run of the game in the bottom of the second inning. He led off the inning with a double to center field and scored on a Montgomery’s double later in the inning.
Post 95 would only get one run in the second inning, but the offense got the kick start it needed. Luke Murfin singled to left to lead off the bottom of the third. Wimberly and Reed Cerrutti followed with back-to-back doubles to make it 3-0 Vandalia. Jared Winters, who has struggled for power at the plate this summer, jacked his first long ball of the season to put Vandalia up 5-0.
"I’ve been going through a slump, and finally got one to go out," Winters said. "We’ll just see if I keep going."
The big inning spilled over into the fourth frame for Vandalia, as Murfin and Wimberly hit back-to-back home runs to left field, making it 8-0.
"It was a curveball that hung and it was the first curveball I ever hit over the fence," Murfin said. "I haven’t been hitting very good, but today I hit in the cage and hit off a tee, so I’m feeling a little bit better."
Hawkins and the defense continued to get out of jams. They caught a break in the top of the fourth when a Lawrence County base runner missed third base on his way home. Vandalia tagged third base after the play and the home plate umpire called the runner out. Following some arguing from the dugout, the player was ejected.
In the top of the fifth inning, Thompson threw out a Lawrence County base runner at third from right field.
Matt Hoffman reached base and scored in the bottom of the fifth inning to make it 9-0, and put Vandalia just a run away from claiming victory.
Vandalia strung together four consecutive singles in the sixth inning to score Wimberly and end the game early.
Wimberly went 3-for-4 with a home run, three runs scored and two runs batted in. Cerruti and Winters both went 2-for-4, and Winters drove in three runs. Montgomery and Murfin went 2-for-3.
Game two was a bit closer, but strong pitching and hitting by Vandalia gave it its second victory of the day, 7-4
Winters wasn’t always perfect on the mound, but he kept Lawrence County batters guessing, striking out 12.
"It’s coming around from high school baseball," Winters said.
A two-run blast in the bottom of the first by Lawrence County gave them something they hadn’t had all day – runs and a lead. It also put Vandalia in a hole for the first time all day.
Seeming unfazed by the challenge, Post 95 came out and got two runs in the top of the second to tie the game. Montgomery doubled, then stole third and scored on an error.
Ethan Carlock reached base on a error and scored from second on an error later in the inning.
Vandalia took a 4-2 lead with a pair of runs in the top of the third. Wimberly picked up an RBI, driving in Murfin, and Montgomery scored on a throwing error by the pitcher.
Lawrence County was able to cut the lead to 4-3 with a run in the third, but Vandalia pulled away again in the fifth, as Wimberly and Thompson each drove in a run.
Both teams put up a run late in the game as Vandalia held on to win.
Montgomery went 4-for-4 with four runs scored. Wimberly went 2-for-4 with two runs batted in. Murfin went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
"Yeah, I’m pretty happy," Montgomery said. "The first few games I didn’t do so hot, but I finally got some hits today. I’m feeling pretty good, better than I did in the high school season. Hopefully, it will carry over into next spring."
Post 95 split its doubleheader against New Baden last Friday, winning game one, 7-4, and dropping game two, 11-1.
Murfin was untouchable on the mound for five innings, as New Baden did not get its first hit until the top off the sixth, the only hit it would get of Murfin during his 5 1/3 innings on the mound.
Vandalia took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second on a ground out by Hoffman that allowed Cooper to score. Post 95 stretch the lead to 3-0 with a pair of runs in the fourth inning.
Although Murfin didn’t give up a hit until the sixth, he had given up a couple walks – and the walks kept coming in the sixth. He issued free passes to the first two batters, but the leadoff batter would be caught stealing. A double put runners on the corners, and they scored on passed balls. Two more batters reached base on walks.
Hawkins was brought on to pitch to try to hold the 3-2 lead. A single to right-center scored two runs to give New Baden a 4-3 lead, but Hawkins got out of the inning without allowing any more runs.
Down 4-3, Vandalia’s offense came back with four runs in the bottom of the sixth. It took advantage of two walks and Cerruti hit a bases-loaded double to right field, clearing the bases and putting Vandalia back on top. Wimberly followed with a double, scoring Cerruti.
Hawkins struck out one and forced two fly outs in the top of the seventh to get the win in relief.
Game two wasn’t quite as impressive on Post 95’s part. It was short-gamed, falling 11-1 in five innings.
In the early days of the season, as the team was still coming together, Hosick was pleased that the team was at least splitting doubleheaders. Last Wednesday, Vandalia lost a doubleheader for the first time all season, losing two games to Stew-Stras.
Both games got out of hand rather quickly, and Vandalia wasn’t able to over come the large deficits.