Post 79 wins opening game
ST. MARYS -St. Marys Post 79 head coach Wirt Cook claimed Community Day a success. And not just because his ballclub defeated previously unbeaten Ripley Post 107 by an 11-6 count.
Tuesday night at Dave Wilson Field, several major door prizes were raffled off and the game attracted a crowd that would have made any American Legion program proud.
“Community Day was fantastic,” Cook said.
On the diamond, Ripley’s junior legion team gave St. Marys all it could handle for six innings. St. Marys starter Robbie Harper was pitching his first game since the Class A state semifinals and gave up just three singles while throwing six shutout innings. He also struck out nine.
“You get six shutout innings from your starter, I’ll take that any day,” Cook said. “Robbie didn’t have his fastball working, but he was getting his curve ball over for his out pitch. He had to grind and it as a good game for him.”
Similar to Ripley, St. Marys bats were struggling to put across any runs against Ripley left-hander Logan McCoy. The 16-year-old’s only mistake through six innings was a two-out, two-run single by leadoff batter Dylan Frye in the fourth inning.
“McCoy has pretty good stuff,” Ripley coach Jon Casto said. “I was happy with our kids’ effort. We hung with them for seven innings before things fell apart. We got kind of got tired and ran out of pitching.”
St. Marys reliever Luke Cooper allowed a two-out RBI single to Ripley leadoff hitter Remy Boyce in the top of the seventh inning and all of a sudden Post 79’s lead was just one at 2-1.
“Ripley is a good team,” Cook said. “I didn’t tell my guys they were a junior team because I didn’t want my guys to tale them too lightly. That lefty they threw at us is a good pitcher and he will have a nice season at Ripley next year.
St. Marys finally created breathing room with a seven-run seventh inning. The frame witnessed three pitching changes by Ripley.
The main run-producers in the inning were Jarrod Lough and Zach Heasley, both contributing a two-run double, and run-scoring singles from Matt Houser and Michael Fox. Fox finished the night with a team-high three hits to go with a pair of stolen bases.
Ripley kept battling and scored three times in the eighth inning thanks to a two-run single by Aaron Wilkinson and an RBI base hit from Johnny Stepp. Post 79 tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on Johnny Riggs’ RBI triple and Heasley’s run-scoring single.
An RBI double by Stepp in the ninth inning sliced the deficit to 11-6, but Heasley struck out the side in the final inning to secure the win. Post 79 improved to 2-1, while Ripley dropped to 4-1.