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CHESTERTON â€” It took awhile but Plymouth Post 27 finally hit its way out of a slump and found a way to take a come-from-behind win away from Valparaiso Post 94.
The Diamond Spiders scored seven runs in the top of the ninth and held on for a 10-7 win at Chesterton High School Wednesday night.
First-year addition to the coaching staff Will Shepard was happy with the teamâ€™s performance in the later innings.
â€śWe had some clutch hitting. There were a lot of great at bats in there and a lot of the kids deserve credit for keeping it going, â€ť he said. â€śWe finally got it going in the third inning defensively with some great diving plays. I think that got us going and carried over to the offense.â€ť
The defensive plays he spoke of came in the third inning by the gloves of Bremenâ€™s Wes Burkholder in left field and Brock Anson at third base. Burkholder dove to his right to rob Jordan Peterson of a sure base hit for the first out of the inning. Anson made a diving play on a ball to the hole and jumped up in time to throw Brandon Jenks out at first base to end the inning.
Things werenâ€™t so good at the plate in the early innings.
Ohio State recruit and MLB draftee Jake Post cruised through the first three innings of the game. He gave up only two hits and struck out six Diamond Spyders in his stint on the mound.
The Post 94 offense was equally impressive early in the game. It jumped out to a 6-0 lead on Plymouth starter Riley Cartwright in the first two innings.
Valpo picked up two runs in the first. Austin Cooley took advantage of a missed pop up that dropped foul just out of the reach of Plymouth catcher Nick Latham. Two pitches later he hit a rocket over the fence in left center to give his team the lead.
Cartwright continued to struggle in the second. He hit the lead-off hitter and gave up a double to Peterson to put runners at second and third with no outs. Brandon Jenks doubled to bring both runners home to up the lead to four. After a Mike Brosseau single to right, Cartwright walked J.R. Fredericks to load the bases. Cooley got the job done again with a two-run single up the middle to up the lead to six runs. Plymouth brought on reliever Michael Holderread, and he was able to curb the Post 94 bats to end the inning without allowing another run.
Valparaiso picked up its final run in the game off of Holderread in the fourth. Once again it was Cooley doing the damage with another long ball to left center field.
The Diamond Spyder offense finally came to life in the fifth.
John Glenn grad Sean Liedtky drew a walk from relief pitcher Jeff Chiabai. Burkholder moved him up a base with a two-out single to right, and Bremenâ€™s Sean Knepper drove Liedtky home with a single up the middle to get Plymouth on the board.
Post 27 kept the offense rolling in the sixth.
Brody Andrews hit a one-out single up the middle to get things started. Lions junior Eric Knepper was able to reach safely on an error by the second baseman. Andrews scored by benefit of another Post 94 error, this time at third base on a ground ball by Latham. Liedtky came through with a single up the middle to plate Eric Knepper and cut the lead to four.
Plymouth continued its offensive onslaught in the top of the seventh.
Sean Knepper led off with a double, and an error on a Shay Hepler grounder to third put runners at second and third with no outs. Anson doubled both runners home in the next at-bat to cut the Valpo lead to two. Another Post 94 error allowed Brody Andrews to reach safely and moved Anson to third base. Tanners Andrews followed his brother with a single up the middle to plate Anson and move pinch runner Jacob Frantz up to third base.
With runners on the corners and nobody out, Valparaiso made a pitching change; it just didnâ€™t end up being the one that they wanted to make.
Post 94 wanted to re-enter a player that was taken out of the game in the early innings and due to the American Legion rules he was not able to return to the game once he was removed. After a brief exchange from the managers of both posts play continued with Dan Snyder taking over the mound duties for Valparaiso.
He walked Eric Knepper to load the bases and gave up a single to Latham that drove home Frantz to tie the game at seven. Liedtky came through with his second hit in the game, this time a double, that drove home Tanner Andrews and Eric Knepper for the go-ahead runs. The Diamond Spyders added an insurance run when Latham scored on a wild pitch and put his team up 10-7.
Tanner Andrews pitched the final three innings for Post 27 to earn the win.
Sean Knepper had three hits in the game, and Liedtky drove in three runs.
The Diamond Spyders move to 7-3 on the season with the victory. Plymouth returns home tonight to face off with Logansport.
â€śA high emotion game like this can add some momentum for us in future games,â€ť said Dan Jones, Post 27â€™s other first year coach along with Shephard. â€śWe expect this type of game to give our kids some confidence in themselves and believe in the way that they can perform.â€ť
Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Plymouthâ€™s Bill Nixon Field.
â€˘ PLYMOUTH 10,
Plymouth: 000 012 7 â€“ 10 11 1
Valparaiso: 240 100 0 â€“ 7 11 4
WP: Tanner Andrews
LP: Cody Haver
2B: S. Knepper (P), Anson (P), Liedtky (P), Peterson (V), Jenks (V)
HR: Cooley 2 (V)