HAMLET — Head coach Chip Gordon said Sunday’s loss came down to Hamlet Post 49 not being able to get the job done on the mound.
Finishing its two-game set with Chatham Post 292 on Father’s Day, Hamlet suffered a 15-4 loss in six innings.
Post 49 used a trio of pitchers, each of whom threw two innings. Matt Miller started on the hill and gave up six earned runs on seven hits.
Eythan Reynolds threw the third and fourth frames and held Chatham to just three runs (one earned) on four hits. Closing out the final two innings was James Eason, whose line mirrored Miller’s.
“It’s never fun to be 10-run ruled at home,” Gordon said. “We didn’t pitch very well. We have to be able to throw something other than fastballs for strikes. We have to be able to get breaking balls and changeups over the plate.
“If we’re throwing nothing but fastballs, they’re sitting dead-red on them and it turns into batting practice. We also have to be better on our bunt defense, which is something we’ll discuss.”
The game was close through the first two innings, with Hamlet carrying a two-run lead into the top of the third. Post 292 used two singles and two wild pitches to take a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.
Hamlet responded with two runs of its own in the home half. A leadoff walk to J.D. Scarbrough saw him swipe second base, and Jackson Kuhn collected a one-out RBI double to get Post 49 on the board.
Kuhn connected on a full count offering from starting pitcher Anthony Lopossay (2 IP, six hits, four runs) and banged his two-bagger off the top of the Wilbur Dome wall in center. It was the first of his team-high two hits and two RBI.
In the next at-bat, Ryley Norton found the grass in right field along the baseline for an RBI single to tie the game.
Miller faced just four batters in the second and stranded a runner on second, and got run support from the offense in the bottom half.
A leadoff double that hit the wall on the fly in center by Hunter Huneycutt gave Scarbrough a chance to connect on a two-out RBI base knock to center field. Following a walk to Tristan Hunt, Kuhn struck again by grounding an RBI single back up the middle to make it 4-2.
After that, the momentum shifted in Chatham’s favor. Two RBI singles tied the game in the top of the third, which saw Reynolds take over with no outs and runners on the corners.
A wild pitch and an error gave Post 292 a two-run lead. Norton started a 3-4 double play when he caught a bunt pop up and threw to Eason at first to pick off the runner. A strikeout from Reynolds ended the threat with Hamlet trailing 6-4.
Post 49 left two base runners on with no outs in the third and Chatham scored three runs in the top of the fourth on a solo homer, an RBI single and a base-loaded walk.
Post 292 added two runs in the fifth thanks to a two-run shot and went ahead by 11 runs with its final four runs in the sixth. All of those runs came with two outs.
Needing to score two runs to keep the game going, Hamlet got two runners on base via a free pass from reliever Zach Cartrette (4 IP, three walks). Getting on were Scarbrough and Kuhn, but Post 49 couldn’t find a way to scratch out the runs.
“Early in the game we hit four or five balls on the nose and they just didn’t fall,” Gordon explained. “If they fall for hits, the whole momentum of the game changes. We could have been playing with a really big lead and deflated (Chatham) right then.
“We’re just ready to come back out tomorrow and play a good Post 10 team and try to go 3-0 in conference,” he closed.
Hamlet Post 49 (6-4, 2-0 Area 2) will travel to the coast on Monday to face one of the tougher opponents in Area 2 conference play. The 49ers will face Wilmington Post 10 at Buck Hardee Field at Legion Stadium 7 p.m.
The Richmond Observer will publish a photo gallery of Sunday’s game soon.