Caldwell County outlasts Rutherford
In its first Area IV West Division game of the season, Caldwell County Post 29 claimed a 6-4 victory over Rutherford County Post 423 on Wednesday night at McNair Field in Forest City.
“A lot of clutch hitting tonight,” said head coach Myron Day. “We’re Still a work in progress. Rutherford is a good baseball team. It was a typical legion baseball game tonight. There is never a comfortable lead in legion baseball.”
Post 29 (5-0 overall, 1-0 Area IV West) jumped out to an early lead with three runs in the top of the first inning. After Trevor Beane singled and stole second, Taylor Purus hit an RBI single to give Caldwell a 3-0 lead. Taylor Powell followed with a two-run blast over the left field wall to extend the lead to 3-0.
Rutherford (0-3 overall, 0-3 Area IV West) countered with one run in the bottom of the first and two more in the second. In the first inning, Reece Oliver drove in A.J. Simmons on an RBI fielder’s choice. Then in the second, Tripp Hamrick singled and scored on an RBI double by Brett McCollum. McCollum advanced to third on the throw home and scored on an error as Caldwell tried to throw him out at third, tying the game at 3-3.
In the bottom of the sixth, Post 423 took its first and only lead of the game. Dustin McEntire hit a leadoff single and stole second. Then with one out in the inning, Simmons hit an RBI double to right center to give Rutherford a 4-3 advantage.
After scoring three runs in the first, Post 29 combined for seven hits and stranded eight batters from the second through the sixth inning. The 29ers finally broke through with a run in the seventh to tie the game. With runners on first and third, pinch-hitter Brett Macchia hit an RBI single to right to score Dylan Hamel. Hamel previously walked to reach base. That was also Macchia’s first at-bat of the young season.
“That was a clutch hit,” Day said. “For him to come up in his first at-bat of the season and get a big hit for us like that, that was impressive.”
Caldwell jumped back on top with two runs in the top of the eighth. Zac Walker led off with an infield single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Mason Biddix. Then with two outs in the inning, Hamel was hit by a pitch, before Purus followed with an RBI single to right to give the 29ers a 5-4 lead. Powell followed with an RBI double off the wall to extend the lead to 6-4. Rutherford never threatened in the final two innings.
Jon Bolick picked up the win in relief, while Aaron Ballinger took the loss in relief for Rutherford. Andrew Tilghman earned the save, throwing the final two innings. He struck out four of the eight batters he faced.
The 29ers will return to action tonight when they travel to Wilkes County Post 31. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.