Home Local Sports No. 1 Hamlet takes playoff series opener against No. 4 Moore County

No. 1 Hamlet takes playoff series opener against No. 4 Moore County

Maddox Locklear, connecting on his second hit Monday, drove in 3 RBI to help Hamlet take the series lead. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

HAMLET — The postseason started with a victory for the Hamlet American Legion baseball team Monday, which also extended Post 49’s winning streak.

Returning to the diamond for the first time in five days since ending the regular season, Hamlet began its Area 2 Conference playoff bracket with a mercy-rule win.

No. 1 Hamlet hosted No. 4 Moore County Post 12 and rolled to a 15-5 win in six innings.

Overcoming a two-run deficit in the early innings, along with four errors in the field, Post 49 scored at least one run in every inning.

Leading 4-2 after the second frame, Hamlet plated a pair of runs in both the third and four frames. A four-run bottom of the fifth opened the lead to 12-4 and Hamlet walked it off early with its final three runs in the sixth.

Jason Walker (Richmond) recorded his team-leading fifth win of the summer on the mound with a five-inning outing. He allowed four runs, only one of which was earned, on three hits and two walks. Walker also struck out six batters.

Tossing the final inning of relief was Dylan Tilson (Scotland), who allowed an earned run on one hit. 

Hamlet connected for seven hits from five different players, including two apiece bt Isaac Hinshaw (Richmond) and Maddox Locklear (Scotland). Similar to its previous two games with Post 12, patience at the plate for Post 49 paid off by drawing a dozen base on balls.

An error with runners on second and third base in the top of the first scored Moore County’s first run. Post 12 took a 2-0 lead when a fielder’s choice to the middle infield recorded an out at second base.

James Eason (Richmond) doubled with one out in the home half and moved to third on a wild pitch by starting pitcher Jacob Shepherd (two innings, four runs, three hits, two walks). Eason cut Hamlet’s deficit to a run when he slid safely across home plate on a passed ball.

James Eason scores the first of his three runs during Monday’s playoff win. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Walker needed just eight pitches to record a groundout and a pair of Ks to retire Moore County in order in the second inning.

Locklear recorded the first of his game-high three runs batted in with a two-RBI single to left field with no outs in the bottom half. Riley Brown (Richmond, walk) and John Carre (Pinecrest, fielder’s choice) scored to leapfrog Post 12 and take a 3-2 lead.

A check-swing line drive by Jacob Williams (Union Pines) in the next at-bat landed in the right field grass for an RBI knock, plating Locklear.

Hamlet’s two-run lead was erased in the top of the third when an error with two runners on base allowed both to score and knot the game 4-4.

Facing relief pitcher Josh Cox (three innings, three hits, eight runs, seven walks) in the bottom of the third, Austin Mooring (Union Pines) and Brown drew one-out walks. Both runners swiped a bag and Mooring scored when the throw down to third trickled into left field.

Advertisements

Locklear recorded the eventual game-winning RBI when he grounded out to short, which scored Brown from third to open Hamlet’s lead to 6-4.

Eason started Hamlet’s two-run fourth inning by drawing a one-out free pass and stealing second and third base, two of his four total stolen bases in the game. Similar to Mooring’s play an inning earlier, an errant pickoff attempt allowed Eason to score.

Hinshaw barreled up a single to right field and an error allowed Evan Hodges (Richmond, walk) to score from first base to make it a four-run lead.

Walker left two runners in scoring position in the top of the fifth with his final strikeout of the game.

Jason Walker throws a strike to Dominic Inocencio during his five-inning victory Monday. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Williams (hit-by-pitch) and JD Scarbrough (Pitt Community College, double) quickly got into scoring position in the bottom half. A wild pitch by Cox scored Williams and Scarbrough trotted home when Eason reached on an error.

Hodges recorded his RBI in the win before the end of the inning with a sacrifice fly to shallow right field, scoring Eason, who led Hamlet with three runs.

A sacrifice fly by Mooring increased Hamlet’s lead to 12-4, the final run of the inning. Tagging up from third base was Hinshaw, who hustled out a triple in the previous at-bat.

Tilson allowed the first two batters he faced in the sixth to reach safely and the lead runner stole third to put runners on the corners. A 4-6-3 double play allowed the run to score and Tilson recorded a fly out to Jeremiah Ritter (Richmond) in center to escape any more damage.

Needing three runs to end the game, Hamlet did that on a hit, two walks, two wild pitches and a passed ball. Dylan Benedict (two-thirds of an inning, three runs, one hit, two walks) and Preston Whitaker (one walk) combined to pitch for Post 12.

Locklear, who led off with an infield single to second base, scored on a wild pitch. Carter Bean (Pinecrest, walk) also scored on a wild pitch and Hodges (walk) made a read on a passed ball to slide safely across home plate.

No. 1 Hamlet (18-4) will travel to Union Pines High School for game two Tuesday against No. 4 Moore County (3-13). 

Expected to start on the mound and go for the series sweep for Hamlet will be Brown. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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