HAMLET — Moving two games over the .500 mark, the Hamlet American Legion baseball team mercy-ruled its opponent on Monday.
Putting on a hitting clinic, Post 49 defeated Pleasure Island Post 129 17-7 in six innings.
The 17 runs were a season-high for Hamlet, which also collected 16 hits against three different pitchers for Post 129.
A plethora of players had multi-hit games, including Michael Norris and Finley Spicer who both had three hits.
Nick DiCarlo, Ra’Nes Little and Ryley Norton all had two hits and rounding out the attack with one hit apiece were Kole Dutton, Jake Clemmons, Cameron Way and Chaz Whitmore.
Way got the start on the mound for Hamlet and threw 3.0 innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on one hit. He struck out three batters and retired the first six batters he faced in order on 15 pitches.
Because of playing three games in three nights, head coach Chip Gordon went to the bullpen early and often to preserve arms.
Tristan Hunt and Norris both pitched one shutout inning with two strikeouts, and Tanner Cheek threw one inning and allowed four earned runs on three hits and had three Ks.
Following their string of strong starts, the 49ers plated nine runs in the top of the first inning.
DiCarlo got it started in the leadoff spot by beating out an infield single to first and scored two batters later on a passed ball by starting pitcher Zayne Via (0.2 innings, nine earned runs, four hits, five walks).
With one out, Spicer, who finished with four RBIs, sliced a two-RBI double down the left field line to score courtesy runner Ayden Allen (Way walk) and Norris (walk).
Spicer later scored on a wild pitch and Norton recorded the first of his four RBIs when he dropped an RBI single in right-center to make it 5-0.
Returning to the top of the lineup, DiCarlo hustled into third for a two-RBI triple that trickled into the right-field corner. Racing home were Norton (single) and Hunt (walk).
The final two runs of the inning were scored by DiCarlo (passed ball) and Norris collected an RBI single to left to bring in Cheek (walk).
Post 129 scored its first two runs in the top of the third on a two-RBI single by Branton Jernigan. A passed ball let another run score, but Way picked off a runner trying to steal home and catcher Cooper Sessoms tagged him out to end the inning.
Hamlet responded with a four-run bottom of the third against relief pitcher Dylan Welch, starting with a two-RBI single from Spicer to left field. Making their way home were Way (walk) and Norris (double).
Two batters later, Norton connected on a hanging breaking ball and muscled his first home run of the summer over the left field fence for a two-run blast. Scoring ahead of him was Spicer, and Hamlet held a 13-3 lead.
Hunt faced just four batters in the top of the fourth and struck out two batters, and Hamlet stranded two runners in scoring position in the home half.
Post 129 added four runs in the fifth, using an RBI double from Jernigan and a bases-clearing double by Maddox Green.
Spicer led off the bottom of the fifth with a single and later scored an insurance run when Norton collected his final RBI of the game on a groundout to short.
A 1-2-3 top of the sixth by Norris allowed Hamlet to score the three runs it needed to end the game early. With the bases loaded and one out, Norris (single) scored on a passed ball.
Clemmons, who tied Spicer with the team lead with two stolen bases in the win, chopped an RBI fielder’s choice to short, bringing in Spicer.
Capping the win was Little, who notched his second hit of the game, an RBI double to the wall in center. That scored Hunt (walk) to secure the victory.
Pitching the final inning for Pleasure Island was Green, who gave up three earned runs on two hits. Hamlet drew 10 walks in the win, had just one strikeout at the plate and stole seven bases.
Post 49 (6-4) will continue its busy start to the week with a road game at Beulaville Post 511 on Tuesday. The game will start at 7 p.m. and be played at East Duplin High School.