DALZELL – After suffering a tough loss in the opening game of its American Legion baseball first-round state playoffs series against Horry Post 111, Dalzell-Shaw Post 175 came out with the bats on fire in Game 2 on Thursday.
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The Jets had multiple hits in their first five at-bats, finishing with 13 hits, and pitcher Michael Love made it stand up as they came away with a 7-4 triumph at Thomas Sumter Academy’s General Field.
“I think this was easily the best all-around game we’ve played this season,” said D-S head coach Jamey Lisenby, whose team improved to 8-14 on the season. “We hit the ball well, we got good pitching, and we played pretty good defense.”
The deciding game of the best-of-3 series will be played on Friday at Conway High School beginning at 7:30 p.m.
The Jets suffered a 4-3 loss to Post 111 on Wednesday in Conway. They picked up four hits in the first two innings but didn’t push across any runs leaving five runners on base.
Dalzell loaded the bases in the first inning but came up empty. Peyton Godwin started the inning with an infield single off of Horry starting pitcher Matthew Brazen. He was sacrificed to second by Josh Burns and moved to third on a Hunter McGee single.
Malcolm Brown drew a walk to load the bases before Bryce Barrett popped up on the infield for the second out. Carson Collins lined out to center field to end the threat.
“I was really concerned after first couple of innings,” Lisenby said. “We were hitting the ball good but were leaving too many runners on base.”
Post 111 threatened in the second but also couldn’t capitalize. Tyler Davis reached to lead off the inning when Love couldn’t handle a squibber. He moved to second on a Zac Wall single, and they moved up a base on a Dawson Chastain sac bunt. Love got out of the jam by getting Pierce Fennell to line out to Burns at first.
The Jets finally broke through for three runs in the third. The first came in emphatic fashion as Malcolm Brown launched a home run that landed on S.C. Highway 441 that runs behind right field.
Barrett followed with a triple to the gap in left-center. He scored when Collins reached on an error. Austin Bowers followed with a single, and Collins scored to make it 3-0 when Brazen threw the ball away trying to pick Bowers off of first.
Horry, which dropped to 10-11, got two of those runs back in the fourth without the benefit of a hit. Love walked Tyler Davis to start the inning, and he was sacrificed to second. Love walked Wall, and the runners moved up on stolen bases.
Love struck out Chastain on a pitch in the dirt that catcher Grant McElveen couldn’t block. That allowed Davis to score, and Wall came in on a Fennell sacrifice fly.
The Jets got those runs back in the bottom of the inning against Post 111 reliever Peter Maggio. McGee drew a 1-out walk and went to third on a double to the left-center gap by Brown. Maggio got Barrett to pop up, but Carson singled to right field. McGee scored easily and Brown slid headfirst to get in under the tag of catcher Wall.
Each of the Jets starters got at least one hit. Brown was 2-for-2 with two walks and three runs scored, while Barrett, Bowers and McElveen each had two hits. Collins had three hits.
Horry got a run back in the fifth but missed out on a golden opportunity as it had the bases loaded with no outs.
Kody Hanna led off with a single, and Jordan Hilburn reached on an error. Spencer Sarvis loaded the bases with a beautiful bunt single.
Davis ripped a single to center that scored Hanna, but Hilburn was thrown out by centerfielder Barrett for the first out. Love retired the next two batters to leave the score at 5-3.
“That was just a huge momentum change,” Love said of Barrett’s throw to McElveen. “My defense played great behind me tonight. I’m not a strikeout pitcher so I count on my defense.”
D-S picked up another run in the fifth. McElveen singled with one out and went to third on Burns’ 2-out single. McElveen scored on an error on the play.
Dalzell picked up another run in the sixth. Brown walked, went to second on a wild pitch and to third on a Barrett single. He scored on a throwing error as Barrett stole second to make it 7-3.
That run made it a bit more comfortable for Dalzell in the seventh as Post 111 made it quite uncomfortable.
After retiring the leadoff batter, Hilburn doubled off of Love before he walked the next two batters to load the bases. Ethan Lisenby came on in relief of Love and gave up a single to Storm Harrelson to make it 7-4. However, Lisenby struck out Wall and got Jakob Marlow to line out to end the game and get the save
“Michael Love gave us the game we expected him to,” Coach Lisenby said. “We rode him as far as we could, until he ran out of pitches. Ethan came in and pitched well.”
Love allowed seven hits and five walks while striking out two in 6 1/3 innings. Three of the runs were earned.
“I didn’t have my best stuff tonight,” Love said. “My catcher, Grant McElveen, does a great job working with me. I just took it one batter at a time.”
Coach Lisenby said Tyler Warren will start Game 3. “He’s a veteran and we expect him to pitch well,” he said. “We’ll have everyone else who’s available to pitch ready.”
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