Post 284 Bucs fall in opener
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Jun 13, 2013, 12:00
Despite a 3-for-5 showing from lead-off hitter Austin Mostoller (8), the Colonial Heights Post 284 Bucs suffered an 11-6 loss to West End Post 361 in the first game of American Legion District 11 play on Tuesday at Shepherd Stadium. Mostoller had two doubles and drove in two runs (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
COLONIAL HEIGHTS – The German word for stone is “stein.” In that respect, the West End Post 361 baseball team’s rock-solid clean-up hitter is aptly named.
Brandon Stein ignited West End with a 3-for-4 showing at the plate on Tuesday, guiding last year’s American Legion District 11 runners-up to an 11-6 road victory over the Colonial Heights Post 284 Bucs at Shepherd Stadium.
The first baseman, who plies his trade at Bridgewater College, broke a 5-5 tie in the fifth inning by hitting a two-run home run to center field and finished with a game-high four RBIs. West End coach Doug Toombs said he was pleasantly surprised with the sharp play his team exhibited in its rain-delayed debut.
“We hit the ball well and the pitching held up really well tonight,” Toombs said. “I was most surprised with the defense, since we haven’t taken any groundballs in a week.”
There weren’t many groundballs to speak of after Joe Lane took the mound for West End in the sixth. The hard-throwing righty from Hampden-Sydney racked up seven strikeouts and held Colonial Heights without a hit for the final three and two-thirds innings.
Post 361 shortstop John Lloyd (left) throws to first for a double play as Post 284 third baseman J.D. Baker (4) slides into second on Tuesday at Shepherd Stadium in Colonial Heights (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
“He was on top of his game tonight,” Toombs said.
While his team committed five errors – three in the first two frames – Bucs coach Merrill Morgan said the season-opening loss was rife with promising signs.
“I thought there were some bright spots,” Morgan said. “We swung the bats well in key situations. I just thought we made a few mistakes early. There were a few errors that kind of affected us, but I think that was just first-time jitters from some young players.”
West End opened the scoring with an unearned run in the first inning and pushed the gap to 5-0 in the top of the second, but the Bucs atoned for their early miscues with a gradual resurgence.
Daniel McKenney reduced the deficit to 5-1 with an RBI single in the second and Jamar Hinton’s two-run blast over the wall in left-center capped a three-run outburst in the third.
J.D. Baker, who made a pair of diving defensive plays at third base, put Colonial Heights back on level terms with a single that plated Matt Hettinger in the fourth.
“The guys battled right back and tied the game up,” Morgan said. “We have a lot of young guys, so I think they’re going to get better as the season goes on. I think by midseason we’ll be playing some very good baseball.”
Lane already appeared to be in midseason form.
He entered with West End clinging to a 7-6 lead, befuddled the Bucs for the remainder of the game and punctuated the result by striking out the side in the ninth.
Post 361 starter Chance Pauley earned the pitching win while Hinton absorbed the loss for Post 284 despite accruing 10 strikeouts in five innings.
Colonial Heights center fielder Austin Mostoller went 3-for-5 with two doubles and a pair of RBIs while Hettinger finished 3-for-3 and scored two runs.
Cole Hyman went 2-for-3 with a second-inning homer for West End.
Post 361: 140 020 220 – 11 12 1
Post 284: 013 101 000 – 6 11 5
Pauley, Lane (6) and Richardson; Hinton, Baker (6) and Mitchell. W: Pauley. L: Hinton.