split games: The Post 70 American Legion 19U baseball team begins day one of Freedom Classic 1-1

Published 3:00 am Friday, July 3, 2015

Photo/mike hensley Troy Post 70 American Legion 19U started day one of the Freedom Classic with a 1-1 record after defeating Birmingham 4-2. They fell to the Ozark Majors in game two 6-2. PHOTO/MIke Hensley

Photo/mike hensley
Troy Post 70 American Legion 19U started day one of the Freedom Classic with a 1-1 record after defeating Birmingham 4-2. They fell to the Ozark Majors in game two 6-2.

The first day of the American Legion Freedom Classic brought mixed reviews for Troy’s Post 70 19U team.

The team started the afternoon hot winning game one against Birmingham 4-2, but fell short to the Ozark Majors in game two 6-2.

After both Birmingham and the 19U team went scoreless in the first inning, Birmingham put the first score on the board in the top half of the second inning. Troy 19U team starting pitcher Matthew Marler walked two batters in the second, and Birmingham capitalized on the free bases bringing in the first run on a sac-fly to left field.

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Troy answered quickly in their half of the second inning with Tyler Sheehan getting the inning started with a walk and would later reach home on a left-field double from Christopher Simon, which tied the game at one.

Birmingham answered in the top of the third, when pitch control problems arose for Marler. Troy was fortunate to get out of the inning while only surrendering one run.

The back-and-forth action continued in the bottom of the third inning.

In the third inning, Troy was determined to take back the lead. Zach Lightsey reached base on a single, and Trace Johnston reached base via a walk to start the momentum for Troy. With both runners on base and two outs, Sheehan came up and a hit a double down the left field line scoring both Troy runners.

Every time Birmingham scored Thursday afternoon, Troy answered right back in their top of the inning, distinguishing any momentum for Birmingham, something head coach John Rushing said he was thankful for following the game.

“Its always important to score fast,” Rushing said. “When you give them the momentum you have to take it back. We got a couple big hits, and we were able to move the runners. We didn’t pound the ball by them by any means but we got things taken care of and got it done.”

After both teams went scoreless in the fourth inning, Troy tacked on run from Hunter Baggett in the fifth to extend their lead to 4-2.

After Marler controlled the mound for four innings and surrendered only two runs, Rushing put in relief pitcher Alan Wilson, who shut the door for the final three innings securing Troy’s 4-2 win over Birmingham.

After Thursday’s win, Rushing said he was proud of the work Marler had put in on the mound for the 19U team.

“We threw strikes,” Rushing said. “I have used Marler a lot. He has been our guy to start the tournaments. I didn’t want to throw him too much, so we got him out of there. Wilson came in to pitch, and that gave us a left-handed pitcher. That is going to be huge for us moving forward.”

Troy finished the game with just four hits, but had made the most of it coming off the field with the win.

Rush Hixon, Baggett, Lightsey and Sheehan all had hits for Troy.

In game two against the Ozark Majors, the two teams stayed scoreless until the fourth inning when Ozark put four runs up.

Troy scored a run in the top half of the fifth to cut their deficit to three runs. Hixon and Baggett led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Dustin Jordan came up and reached first on a fielder’s choice, advancing Hixon to third and Baggett to second.

The next batter, Sheehan, came up and drove in Hixon on a base hit.

After Ozark added another run in the fifth inning, both teams scored a run in the sixth to close out the scoring at 6-2.

With day one complete and Post 70 sitting with a 1-1 record, Troy will be back in action Friday at 12:00 p.m. against Jacksonville Post 88 at Riddle-Pace Field on the Tory University Campus. Troy will play again at 5:00 p.m. against Rockdale Post 77.