FAYETTEVILLE — A no-quit attitude and a productive round of pass-the-bat in the top of the sixth inning fueled the Hamlet American Legion baseball team to a comeback victory on Saturday.
Looking to even the season series against Area 2 conference opponent Hope Mills Post 32, Hamlet erased a nine-run deficit and won 12-11.
Playing at Methodist University, Post 49 fell behind 10-1 after four innings.
Hope Mills scored two runs in the first and recorded six runs in the bottom of the second. Two more runs in the bottom of the fourth gave the Boosters a sizable lead.
Hamlet’s first run came in the top of the first inning when Finley Spicer reached on an error at third base, allowing leadoff batter Tristan Hunt (single) to score.
Post 49 collected 16 hits in the win, with a trio of batters notching three hits apiece — Hunt, Tanner Cheek and Ryley Norton.
The most pivotal hit, however, came from Spicer in the top of the seventh. With the game tied 11-11, Spicer lasered a line drive up the middle that hit the shortstop’s glove for the go-ahead RBI.
The hit trickled into center field and allowed Cheek (walk) to race home from second base.
Helping erase the deficit in the top of the fifth inning, Cheek hit a double to left field, plating Hunt who led off with a single.
Norton, who had a team-high three RBIs, connected on an RBI single to left field two at-bats later to bring in Cheek (double).
Spicer drew a walk and later scored on an error, one of three committed by Hope Mills. Post 32 got a run back in the bottom half and Hamlet’s deficit was 11-4.
But a seven-run top of the sixth inning that sent 11 batters to the plate for Hamlet reset the scoreboard.
Featuring six hits, all singles, and two walks, Post 49 started a string of eight unanswered runs to secure the win.
Walks to Ra’Nik Little and Hunt, followed by an infield single by Cheek, loaded the bases. Cameron Way got the scoring started when he laced an RBI single to left, scoring Little.
With one out, Norton hit a two-RBI single to left, the first of four straight base knocks by Hamlet. Crossing home were Hunt and Cheek to make it an 11-7 ball game.
Ra’Nes Little followed with a fly ball single to center to reload the bases and pinch hitter Chaz Whitmore passed the bat with an RBI single to left. Way scored on the hit and Norton added another run when the ball was misplayed by the left fielder.
Cooper Sessoms joined the hit parade with an opposite field single to right in the next at-bat, again loading the bases. Ra’Nes Little scored on a passed ball and Ra’Nik Little tied the game with an RBI fielder’s choice to short.
Spicer, who pitched two innings of relief, worked out of a two-on, no-out jam in the bottom of the sixth. A strikeout was followed by a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play (Way, Cheek, Whitmore).
One-out walks by Cheek and Way to start the seventh inning led to Spicer’s eventual game-winning base hit.
Way came in to pitch the final inning and faced just four batters to complete the comeback. He got a fly out, a fielder’s choice and a ground ball to Hunt at short to end it.
Eight different players had at least one hit for Hamlet in the win, with Ra’Nes Little and Spicer adding two each. Spicer had two RBIs and Cheek, Ra’Nik Little, Way and Whitmore all had one.
Improving to 9-5 on the summer campaign, Hamlet will travel to Brunswick Post 543 on Monday. The game will be played at North Brunswick High School and start at 7 p.m.