Halifax County American Legion Post 8 Junior Legion baseball team manager Josh Perkins can breathe a little easier now.
Post 8 snapped a four-game losing skid Tuesday night, turning the tables on a Post 16 by sweeping a doubleheader 8-3 and 9-4 at Halifax County High School. Lynchburg Post 16 had edged Post 8 by a narrow margin in a doubleheader in Lynchburg earlier in the season.
“This right here is what we’ve been looking for,” Perkins remarked following the sweep that improved Post 8’s season record to 4-5 overall.
“Our pitcher in the first game, Kyle Barker, was outstanding, having only one walk. We made plays defensively behind him and didn’t have errors in bunches. We had good approaches at the plate for the most part. We left a lot of runners on base, but when you pitch well and play defense well you can win these games. This is what we’ve been waiting to see.”
Barker went the distance on the mound in the opening game. Throwing a solid game, Barker fanned four batters, yielded only one walk and allowed eight scattered hits.
Post 8 had six hits in the opener, with Jackson Newton leading the team with two hits and two RBIs. Luke Fulcher, Gavin Colwell, Kamron Turbeville and Dylan Newton all had one hit each.
Along with the hits, Post 8 took advantage of 14 walks allowed by Lynchburg Post 16 pitchers.
In the nightcap that went five innings, Post 8 banged out 11 hits with Turbeville and Anthony Conner leading Post 8 with two hits each. Jackson Newton, Leo Noblin, Colby Hancock and Dillon Fisher had a hit apiece, with all four players having two RBIs each. Thomas Lee, Barker and Evan Clark also had a hit each.
Post 8 got another solid performance from its pitchers in the nightcap. Conner, the starter, struck out three batters and allowed three walks and four scattered hits. Colwell went to the mound in relief to kick off the final inning and fanned two Lynchburg Post 16 batters and allowed one walk and one hit.
For a team to have taken four losses in a row and bounce back and sweep a doubleheader from a team that had previously taken two wins from it is big in the overall scheme of things.
“We had a little meeting after the last game we lost, and I told the players it was all on me,” Perkins said.
“I told them from this point on our focus is going to be about winning. It’s not going to be about playing time, equal share, and that you were going to earn your playing time. I think they took it to heart, and we saw a better effort out of everyone.”
In the first game, Post 8 broke away with four runs in the first inning to go up 4-0, saw Lynchburg draw to within a run at 4-3 with two runs in the top of the sixth inning and pulled away with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to go up by the eventual final score of 8-3.
Halifax County Post 8’s big four-run sixth inning rally started with Blake Duffer reaching base with a walk. Colwell laid down a bunt, and Lynchburg Post 16 was unable to make a play. Duffer raced to third base, and Colwell was safe at first base. Kolby Fisher laid down a sacrifice bunt and Duffer scored to put Post 8 up 5-3.
Turbeville walked, and Lee took his place as a pinch runner. Clark walked to load the bases, and Dylan Newton walked to force in Colwell and make the score 6-3. Shabazz Buster was struck by a pitch, forcing Lee across the plate to make the score 7-3. Clark scored on a wild pitch to put Post 8 up 8-3.
In the nightcap, Post 8 broke a 1-1 deadlock with a game-breaking six-run rally in the bottom of the second inning to go up 7-1.
Turbeville kicked off the big inning with a single. Conner followed with a hit to move Turbeville to second base. Clark beat out a bunt to load the bases, and Fisher followed with a 2-RBI single to put Post 8 up 3-1, moving Clark to second base.
With two out, Hancock walked to load the bases. Jackson Newton followed with a 2-RBI single to give Post 8 a 5-1 lead. Noblin followed with a 2-RBI single to stake Post 8 to a 7-1 edge.
Lynchburg Post 16 scored twice in the top of the fourth inning to cut the Post 8 lead to 7-3. Post 8 responded in kind with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Barker was struck by a pitch to start the inning and stole second base. A single by Hancock plated Barker to give Post 8 an 8-3 lead. Hancock later stole second base, and Turbeville got a hit to load the bases. Conner followed with a hit to score Hancock to give Post 8 a 9-3 lead.
Lynchburg Post 16 rallied to score a run in the top of the fifth inning, but it wasn’t enough as Post 8 sealed the win and the sweep of the doubleheader.