HAMLET — Sticking to its season-long moniker as the “comeback team,” the Hamlet American Legion baseball team scratched out another late victory on Tuesday.
Starting a three-game homestand to end the regular season, Post 49 erased a five-run deficit to earn a 10-8 win over Matthews Post 235.
Completing the non-conference sweep of Matthews, Hamlet used three different arms and a barrage of timely hits to notch its 10th victory of the summer.
Tristan Hunt had his bat dialed in, as he went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and a triple. Finishing the game with four runs batted in, Hunt recorded the go-ahead runs on a bases-clearing three-bagger in the fifth.
Also going yard was Markey Purvis, whose solo shot completed back-to-back jacks in the third inning to help get the offense going.
Ashton Phifer continued to keep his bat hot, connecting on a team-high three hits, including a pair of doubles.
Eythan Reynolds made his first start of the summer for Hamlet and settled in after a rocky first inning. He threw three innings in a no-decision, allowed six runs (four earned) on six hits and had four strikeouts.
Matthews used an RBI double and a pair of bases-loaded walks to take a 3-0 lead in the first. Reynolds worked out of the inning with a strikeout to leave the bases full.
Getting a run back in the home half, Hunter Huneycutt drew a leadoff walk against Evan Hempe (3 IP, three runs, three hits) and later scored on a passed ball. Despite having the bases loaded with no outs, Hamlet scored just one run.
A passed ball and an RBI groundout in the top of the second plated two more runs for Matthews. Phifer lined a two-out double to the corner in right for Hamlet, but was stranded.
Post 235 put two runners on in the top of the third and used an RBI single to take a 6-1 lead. A pair of flyouts to J.D. Scarbrough in center brought Hamlet back to the plate.
The momentum started to swing in Post 49’s favor early in the home half, as Hunt and Purvis left Memorial Park. Hunt smashed a 3-1 offering from Hempe that carried over the wall in left.
Just two pitches later, Purvis sent his first homer of the summer into orbit, crushing a solo shot to the deepest part of the park in center.
To start the fourth, Scarbrough took over on the mound. He allowed one run on three hits across two innings of relief. Matthews scored on a sacrifice fly to center field in the fourth to extend its lead to 7-3.
The first of two high-scoring innings for Hamlet saw the 49ers plate three runs in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to one run.
A leadoff walk to Carter Bean was followed by Phifer’s second double of the game to move both runners into scoring position. Turning over the lineup, Huneycutt laced the first pitch from reliever Kent Blakenburg (1.2 IP, seven runs, six hits) on a line drive to center to score two runs.
A single from Scarbrough and an error loaded the bases with one away for Hunter Meeds, who recorded an RBI on a fielder’s choice back up the middle.
Scarbrough stranded two runners on base in the fifth to set up a four-run home half for Hamlet.
Bean (walk), Phifer (single) and Huneycutt (walk) loaded the bases with two away. Scarbrough tied the game 7-7 when his pop fly found the outfield grass in shallow center.
Ed Anglin came in to pitch for Matthews (1.1 IP, two hits) and Hunt wasted no time driving in the game-winning runs. On the second offering, Hunt lined a triple to the alley in right-center, clearing the bases and putting Post 49 up 10-7.
Head coach Chip Gordon gave the ball to Matthew Miller to close out the save. An error plated a run for Post 235 in the top of the sixth, and Ryley Norton made an athletic stop at first to record the third out and strand a runner.
After two errors and a single loaded the bases in the seventh, Miller induced a 5-2-3 double play to get the first two outs. Purvis fielded the ball and threw to Huneycutt for the force at home and the batter was called out for interference.
Facing Hudson Shoudy, Miller threw a four-pitch strikeout to preserve the win.
Hamlet recorded 11 hits in the win, led by Phifer’s three. Hunt and Scarbrough each had two and Purvis, Huneycutt, Meeds and Bean added one apiece. Following Hunt’s four RBI were Huneycutt (2) and Scarbrough, Meeds and Purvis (all with one).
Post 49 (10-6, 5-1 Area 2) has two more regular-season games at home this week. Hamlet will host Hope Mills Post 32 on Thursday to try and lock up the No. 2 seed in the conference standings.
That will be followed by another home game Friday against current Area 2 leader Wilmington Post 10. Both games are slated for a 7 p.m. start.
The Richmond Observer will publish a photo gallery on Tuesday’s win soon.