WILMINGTON — A long day of baseball and the heat got to the Hamlet American Legion baseball team during the second half of Friday’s twin bill.
After earning a seven-run win in game one, Post 49 let a late-game lead slip away in game two and suffered a 9-8 loss to Wilmington Post 10.
The game was called after six complete innings due to darkness.
Hamlet trailed by four runs after the third inning, but made a late push in the final three frames. Post 49 scored a run in the fourth, two runs in the fifth and took a one-run lead with a three spot in the sixth.
Despite taking the lead heading into the bottom of the sixth, the Post 10 Patriots scored two runs to walk it off. A bases-loaded walk and a fielder’s choice with one out secured the win.
“The guys battled hard, but I don’t think we were focused as a team in the first three innings,” head coach Chip Gordon said. “We can’t start a game in the fourth inning and expect to win.
“As a team, we need to play from pitch one to the last pitch,” he continued. “We came out flat in the first three innings and played from behind the whole game. That wasn’t the tone we wanted to set.”
Hamlet took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first against starting pitcher Hayden Naylor. Cameron Way recorded an RBI single on a line drive to center field, scoring Nick DiCarlo (hit-by-pitch). Way later scored with the bases loaded on an error by the catcher.
Post 10 tied the game at two runs in the first and added four runs in the second to jump out 6-2.
Finley Spicer, who made his debut with the team on Friday, hit a leadoff double to start the fourth. Finishing with a team-high two hits and two RBIs, Spicer cut the deficit in half and scored on an error at third.
Post 10 added a run back in the home half, but Hamlet chipped away with two runs in the top of the fifth. Way led off with a walk and Michael Norris reached on a single to right field.
Spicer came through with a two-RBI double to left field two at-bats later to make it a two-run game, 7-5.
Hamlet loaded the bases with one out in the sixth inning and Norris brought in DiCarlo (walk) when his grounder to third was misplayed. Tristan Hunt scored the tying run when a passed ball skipped to the backstop.
Tanner Cheek got Post 49 ahead 8-7 when he laid down a sacrifice bunt to first base for the second out. Racing home was Way, who was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning.
Norris was an insurance run just 90 feet away but was stranded, one of seven base runners left on in the loss by Hamlet.
Spicer had two of Post 49’s six hits, with Way, Norris, Ra’Nes Little and Markey Purvis each adding a single. Registering an RBI apiece were Way, Norris and Cheek.
“I’m proud of the way the guys fought back to get the lead,” Gordon closed. “We had a lot better at-bats later in the game, but we just didn’t get it done in the last inning. Finley hit well and I thought everyone played hard, just a little too late.”
Hamlet (4-4) will return home on Saturday and host Port City Post 545 at 7 p.m. at Memorial Park.