Post 64 thumps Zanesville, now 2-0 in tourney

Marietta Post 64's Zach Cunningham, left, is congratulated in the dugout after scoring on a balk during the bottom of the third inning of an American Legion baseball game against Zanesville Post 29 Saturday at Don Coss Field in Cambridge, Ohio. Marietta won, 16-3, in seven innings. Photo by Jordan Holland.

CAMBRIDGE, Ohio — Despite not having a baseball team for 13 years, Marietta Post 64 is making its presence felt in the American Legion Region 8, District 11 tournament.

After a 7-3 win over host Cambridge Friday, Post 64 jumped all over Zanesville Post 29 for a 16-3, seven-inning mercy win Saturday at Don Coss Field. The win sets up a winner’s bracket showdown at 6 p.m. today with fellow Washington County club Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750.

“Should be a really good game,” said Post 64 head coach Brian Brewer. “We’re excited. I think a lot of people have been waiting for it for the entire summer. No better setting than the tournament to finally have the two Washington County teams get out there and get after it. I respect the heck out of Beverly/Lowell. Again, I think at this point, they’re probably considered the favorite. Hopefully, we can show up and give them a good game.”

If Marietta continues to play like it did Saturday, it will be tough to beat. Post 64 collected 15 total hits and got five strong innings from starter Trent Dawson. Danny Hiser worked two scoreless innings of relief.

“We did some things well,” Brewer said. “Something we struggled with over the summer was throwing strikes with leads and I thought we continued that a little bit today, but we righted the ship and made the most of our opportunities. It’s something we’re getting better and better at.”

Dawson walked a pair and fanned four to earn the victory. He allowed Zanesville’s only three runs in the fifth. By that time, though, Post 64 already held a 10-0 lead, thanks to a nine-run third inning.

Zanesville starter Caden Mumaw was pulled with two outs in the second with an apparent injury, after giving up an RBI double to Zach Cunningham to make it 1-0.

Reliever Chayce Lundell got the final out of the second, but did not fare well in the third. Marietta sent 14 batters to the plate in the inning and amassed 10 hits, including two-run singles from Brandon Neville, Boyd Bingler and Kail Hill. Turner Hill and Isaac Danford both had two hits in the inning.

Marietta was in cruise control until the fifth, when Zanesville got RBI singles from Andrew Church and Brock Cooper to help cut it to 10-3.

However, Marietta answered with a run in the fifth and then five more in the sixth to end any doubt.

In all, every Marietta starter had at least one base hit, including six with two base hits. Bryce Gandee, Turner Hill, Danford, Clay Hayes, Isaac Huffman and Cunningham all had two hits, while Gandee, Turner Hill, Hayes and Cunningham all notched a double. Kail Hill finished 1-for-1 with four walks.

“When they’re walking guys and hitting guys, we’re taking advantage of it,” Brewer noted. “Obviously, good teams do that.”

Four relievers combined for the final 4 1-3 innings for Zanesville. Nash Bishop worked the most, walking six and striking out six in three innings.

After getting a solid combined effort from Brandon Schamp (five innings) and Turner Hill (four innings) on Friday, Dawson and Hiser kept it going Saturday.

“I like where we’re at rotation-wise,” Brewer said. “I assume we’re going to see (Beverly/Lowell’s Tyler) Bradford (today). So we’re going to see a pretty good arm (today), probably the best in the tournament. That’ll be a really good challenge for us.”

Post 64 likely will counter with either Turner Hill, who is eligible after a day of rest, or Hayes.