Home Local Sports Miller’s strong outing paces Post 49 to first win of season

Miller’s strong outing paces Post 49 to first win of season

Pitcher Matt Miller delivers during the first inning of Sunday's win over Chatham. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

SILER CITY — A near complete game from Matt Miller set the tempo for the Hamlet American Legion baseball team during its first win of the season on Sunday.

Going 6.1 innings before reaching the pitch count, Miller relied on his defense to pace Post 49 to a 7-5 win over Chatham Post 292.

What head coach Chip Gordon called a much more composed outing by his team following Saturday’s opening day loss, Hamlet used a fuller roster to knock 10 hits for the second game in a row.

Playing at Jordan-Matthews High School, the 49ers gave Miller (6 hits, 4 runs, 5 walks) early run support to jump out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the second inning.

After a quick first inning by both starting pitchers, Hamlet’s bats went to work against Chanceler Terry (3.2 IP, 9 hits, 7 runs, 2 walks) in the second.

Markey Purvis (walk), Jackson Kuhn (single) and Hunter Meeds (bunt single) loaded the bases with no outs. That paved the way for James Eason to tattoo a 2-1 offering from Terry for a three-RBI triple over the center fielder’s head.

James Eason barrels up his three-RBI triple in the top of the second inning of Sunday’s win. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Following a strikeout, Ashton Phifer collected the first of his team-high three hits with an RBI single. Hitting it off the end of the bat, Phifer found grass in shallow left field to bring home Eason.

Miller faced just four batters in the second inning and erased a leadoff single by Ian McMillan by picking him off at first base. There to apply the tag was Purvis.

Post 292 got on the board in the bottom of the third inning thanks to a sacrifice fly to center field by Brandon Crabtree to make it a 4-1 deficit.

Hamlet recorded its final three runs as part of a productive top of the fourth inning. Hunter Meeds and Eason, who both had two hits in the win, led off the frame with back-to-back singles.

With one away, Phifer notched his second hit and second RBI of the game when he roped an RBI single into right field, scoring Meeds from second.


In the next at-bat and after the second out was recorded on the basepaths, JD Scarbrough lasered a shot to center field. Using a kick off the wall, Scarbrough turned on the jets to beat the relay to the plate for a two-run inside-the-park home run.

JD Scarbrough (2) is greeted by Markey Purvis (left), Hunter Huneycutt (7) and Matt Miller (13) following his inside-the-park home run. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Tristan Hunt was hit by a pitch by Terry in the ensuing at-bat, ending Terry’s outing. Over the next 3.1 innings, Post 49 collected one hit and five walks off relievers Joaquin Gordon (1.1 IP) and McMillan (2.0 IP) but didn’t score.

Chatham got a run back on an error by Hamlet, one of two in the game, in the bottom of the fourth to make it 7-2. Miller worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the home half, getting Matthew Murchison to line out to Meeds in center.

In the fifth and sixth frames, Miller faced just four batters in each inning. Despite not recording a strikeout, Miller induced eight ground ball outs and eight fly outs in the win.

Replacing Miller with one away in the bottom of the seventh was Eason (0.2 IP, 1 hit, 1 run). With the bases loaded for Post 292, Hastings Paige lined a three-RBI double down the line in right field for the final runs of the game.

Eason responded with a 5-3 ground out and a fly out to Scarbrough in right field to secure the victory.

Two of Hamlet’s hits went for extra bases, as five players combined for eight singles. Phifer was 3-for-3, Eason, Meeds and Scarbrough each had two hits and Kuhn rounded out the attack with a single.

Eason’s three RBI were a team-high as Phifer and Scarbrough added two apiece.

Hamlet (1-1) is set for its home opener on Monday against non-conference Horry County Post 111. Pregame festivities will include a live singing of the National Anthem, a book signing by former coach George Whitfield and a ceremonial first pitch by Rep. Ben Moss.

First pitch against Horry County is slated for 7 p.m. at Memorial Park.

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

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Kyle Pillar is a 16-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.