WILMINGTON — Ending a two-game skid on Tuesday, Hamlet Post 49 completed the regular-season series sweep of Area 2 conference opponent Ashley Post 129.
Patience at the plate paid off for the 49ers, who drew 14 bases on balls and gained an additional five base runners via hit-by-pitch.
Despite collecting just four hits to Ashley’s seven hits, Hamlet earned an 11-3 victory.
Matthew Miller notched his third win in four starts this summer, throwing 5 innings. He allowed five hits, two unearned runs and added three strikeouts. Ten of his recorded outs came via a fly ball or on the ground.
Head coach Chip Gordon turned to J.D. Scarbrough to close out the final two frames, who made his second appearance on the mound this season. Scarbrough faced eight batters, allowed an unearned run and a hit and collected two punchouts.
Eight of Hamlet’s 10 batters who came to the plate drew at least one walk. Jackson Kuhn’s three free passes led to two RBI and Markey Purvis (2 RBI), Hunter Huneycutt, Ryley Norton and Carter Bean each had two base on balls.
Trotting to first one time apiece were Scarbrough, Tristan Hunt and Ashton Phifer. Crossing home plate with a team-high two runs were Norton, Phifer and Scarbrough.
Starting on the mound for Post 129 was Cane Mehling, who lasted just 1.2 innings. He gave up two hits, five walks, nine unearned runs and hit two batters.
Throwing 4.2 innings of relief, Coleman Cross held Hamlet to two earned runs on two hits, but surrendered eight free passes and plunked three batters. Nate Coleman pitched the final two-thirds of an inning.
Both teams stranded runners on base in the first inning, and it was Hamlet that stirred up some two-out magic to pass the bat and score nine runs in the second.
With Norton (walk) and Eythan Reynolds (fielder’s choice) on second and third, Phifer brought them in and started the scoring when his ground ball went under the glove of the first baseman on an error.
A walk to Huneycutt was followed by an RBI single from Scarbrough to right field. Hunt was hit by a pitch to load the bases and a four-pitch walk to Kuhn and a pitch that hit Purvis in the helmet extended the lead to 5-0.
Norton dug in and drew his second walk of the inning, scoring Hunt. Reynolds found no-man’s land in shallow right field for an RBI single in the next at-bat to move Kuhn across the plate.
Still with two outs, Mehling was replaced with Cross, who allowed the final two runs of the big innings on passed balls.
Ashley got two runs back in the bottom half, using RBI singles from Will Hartzell and Dylan Welch. Miller got some defensive help to end the threat when Kuhn fired to Purvis at third and caught Welch trying to steal.
Hamlet sent four batters to the plate in both the third and fourth innings, leaving a runner on base both times. Miller settled in and retired the next six batters he faced on 23 pitches.
Walks to Bean and Scarbrough in the fifth didn’t yield any more runs for Hamlet, as Miller finished his final inning by working out of a two-on, two-out jam thanks to a fielder’s choice to Reynolds at second.
Stranding another pair of runners in the sixth, including Jon Westbay who was also hit with a pitch on the helmet, Hamlet allowed its final run in the bottom of the frame. Facing Scarbrough, Cross singled and an error by Post 49 allowed Drew Potter (walk) to score.
Adding two runs for good measure in the seventh, Phifer (walk), Huneycutt (walk) and Hunt (HBP) loaded the bases with one away. Kuhn drew another bases-loaded walk and Purvis worked out of a pitcher’s count against Coleman in the next plate appearance to advance the final run 90 feet.
Scarbrough was lights out in the home half, recording a ground out and two fly outs on 10 pitches to end the game.
All of Hamlet’s hits were singles — one apiece from Scarbrough, Hunt, Purvis and Reynolds.
Post 49 (7-5, 3-1 Area 2) returns home on Wednesday for its lone game at Memorial Park this week. Playing another Area 2 game, the 49ers will face Hope Mills Post 32 for the first time this summer, starting at 7 p.m.
The Richmond Observer will publish a photo gallery of Tuesday’s win over Ashley Post 129 soon.