Post 15’s tournament run comes to an end

Photo Provided Parkersburg Post 15’s Ben Menarchek throws a pitch during an American Legion baseball game against Troy Post 70 during the Southeast Regional Tournament Friday in Asheboro, N.C.

ASHEBORO, N.C. — Alabama state champion Troy Post 70 got a dominant pitching performance from Charlie James here Friday afternoon inside McCrary Park as Parkersburg Post 15’s season came to a close following a 6-2 setback in an elimination game of the American Legion Baseball Southeast Regional Tournament.

Post 15 actually dented the scoreboard first when it loaded the bases in the top of the third after Bradan Mullenix, Todd Burner and Hunter Thompson each drew a walk. However, the only run came via a Chase Swain sacrifice fly.

Troy then proceeded to load the bases against losing pitcher Ben Menarchek in the third and managed to tie things up. However, Menarchek got out of the jam thanks to an inning-ending double play as left fielder Colin Bryant snagged a fly ball and then fired to Thompson at home just in time for the catcher to get the tag down.

Parkersburg was unable to take advantage of the defensive gem and went down quietly in the fourth. However, Post 70 tacked on two runs in the home half of the frame to take the lead for good. A run-scoring single by Gage Herring put Troy ahead to stay and Ryan Tomlin’s bases-loaded base on balls forced in another run.

Leading 4-1 after five, James came out and struck out the side in the sixth. At that point, he had thrown just 75 pitches. He finished with a two-hitter and recorded seven punchouts.

Post 15 tried to keep the score in check in the sixth and relief pitcher Jack Hadley was aided by a 6-4-3 double play turned by Burner, Mullenix and Swain. However, Post 70 tacked on a pair of insurance tallies, which included a solo home run from catcher D.J. Law, who finished 2 for 4.

Parkersburg didn’t go down without a fight in the seventh. Hayden Morris had a leadoff single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Andrew Anglin appeared as though he was going to draw a free pass, but was punched out looking on an inside 3-2 offering. Jacob Hoyt’s groundout moved Morris to third and he scored on Mullenix’s RBI single. Even though Mullenix got into scoring position via an error, James finished off his complete game by getting Bryant to ground out.

“There were three teams that left the regional before us. We faced some giants this weekend,” admitted second-year Post 15 manager Mike Goodwin. “Our post finished 26 and 14 this year. It was an extremely successful year for us and our community.

“You never want to see it end, but we played 40 baseball games. We won the Cambridge tournament. We came in second in our area and turned around and won the state. We beat the North Carolina state champs and went toe-to-toe with Alabama today.”

Logan Thompson led Troy’s 10-hit attack by going 3 for 3 with two runs and a pair of doubles. Tomlin finished with a pair of RBIs, Brayden Badgett drove in a run while teammate Wood Jinribat finished 2 for 2 with two runs scored and one RBI.

Next summer, Post 15 will be without the services of Thompson, Menarchek, Reece Fletcher and Remy Boyce.

“The exposure our kids got in the last two weeks at the state tournament and the Southeast Regional, lots of scouts, pro and college,” Goodwin added. “Our kids got lots of contacts made this week.

“Our kids represented six different high schools from our community and played their hearts out this year with a purpose. I really hope this year’s success propels our program to be even stronger next year as far as kids interested in playing and support from the community.”