Home Local Sports Defense, Eason shine as Post 49 takes Game 1 against Beaufort

Defense, Eason shine as Post 49 takes Game 1 against Beaufort

Shortstop Evan Hodges turns one of Hamlet's three double plays during Monday's playoff win. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

HAMLET — Heading into Monday’s second round of the Area 2 Conference playoffs, head coach Chip Gordon told his players to expect fiercer competition.

Gordon’s prediction was right and the Hamlet American Legion baseball team rose to the occasion to take the first game in a five-game series against Beaufort Post 99.

No. 1 Hamlet defeated No. 2 Beaufort 4-2, its 13th straight victory, mostly in part thanks to a six-inning shutout performance by James Eason (Richmond) on the mound.

Backing up Eason was Hamlet’s defense, which made several clutch plays to limit and eliminate Beaufort’s base runners. As a team, Post 49 turned three double plays.

Eason, who won his third game this summer, didn’t allow a run in his six innings of work. He gave up four hits, four walks and had two strikeouts.

In the second, third and fifth innings, Eason retired Beaufort in order, twice with an inning-ending double play.

James Eason, shown throwing a pitch in the first inning, earned the win for Hamlet during Monday’s series opener. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

With Hamlet leading 4-0 entering the final inning, Eason was replaced by Jeremiah Ritter (Richmond) to preserve his pitch count.

Dylan Tilson (Scotland) inherited the bases loaded with no outs in the top of the seventh and earned the save. He recorded two ground ball outs to Riley Brown (Richmond) at first and struck out the final batter to secure the win.

To open the game, Eason allowed a leadoff walk to Nathan Michalawicz but picked him off at first base before he threw another pitch. Beaufort stranded a pair base runners in the inning, two of their seven total runners left on base.

Hamlet scored its first run in the home half of the first, using a leadoff walk to JD Scarbrough (Pitt Community College) and a double down the left field line by Eason to put runners in scoring position.

With one out, Austin Mooring became the first of four Hamlet batters to record one run batted in when he lined a base hit to left field to score Scarbrough. 

Austin Mooring singles to left field in the first inning to score Hamlet’s first run. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Another leadoff walk by Eason to start the second resulted in the first of Hamlet’s three double plays. Eason fielded a grounder back to the mound to start a 1-6-3 double play, which saw Brown field an errant throw and double off the runner who turned for second.


An inning later, second baseman Maddox Locklear (Scotland) initiated a 4-6-3 double play to Hodges and Brown to erase a one-out walk and sit Beaufort down in order again.

Post 99’s bats struggled again in the fourth when Eason faced just four batters. That led to a three-run bottom half for Post 49, which proved to be the difference maker.

Brown (infield single) and Locklear (error) stood on the corners with one out for John Carre (Pinecrest). Doing his job on a hit-and-run, Carre slashed an RBI single through the right side of the infield to plate Brown.

One pitch later from losing pitcher Cam Pavy (five innings, six hits, four runs, one walk), Jacob Williams (Union Pines) connected for his second single of the game, this one registering an RBI when Locklear scored.

Scarbrough completed Hamlet’s scoring when he grounded out to first base later in the inning, allowing Carre to cross home plate and make it 4-0.

John Carre finds the outfield grass on this hit-and-run RBI single in the fourth inning. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Hodges made a diving play at short and completed the long throw for the first out in the fifth. A one-out single was undone for Beaufort when third baseman Isaac Hinshaw (Richmond) rolled a 5-4-3 inning-ending double play.

With runners on second and third in the top of the sixth, Eason escaped potential damage with a long flyout to Scarbrough in right field.

Beaufort made things interesting by loading the bases with no outs on three straight walks to start the seventh. Both of Post 99’s runs came on groundouts to first base before Tilson shut the door with a strikeout looking to Brody Nelson.

Williams’ two hits led the team in the win, as Eason, Mooring, Brown, Locklear and Carre each had one hit. Tallying an RBI each were Scarbrough, Mooring, Carre and Williams.

Hamlet (20-4) will try to take a two-game series lead over Beaufort (10-5) with another home game Tuesday. First pitch from Memorial Park is slated for 7 p.m.

The Richmond Observer will publish a photo gallery of Monday’s playoff win soon.