By MARK HAZELWOOD
PERKINS TOWNSHIP — It’s easy in the early going for the Sandusky American Legion Post 83 baseball team, a theme continuing through in a 10-1 win over Strongsville Post 795 Thursday evening at Perkins High School.
Post 83 improved to 7-0 with the win, outscoring opponents 55-16 along the way.
Post 83 coach Ray Neill, however, cautioned the hot start isn’t a true indicator of his team yet.
“We’ll find out a lot just yet with out weekend tournaments coming up,” Post 83 Neill said. “The back-to-back weekend tournaments (at) Coshocton and in our tournament, we will see some very good teams and see exactly where we are at.”
The trio of Brady Smith (Sandusky), Matt Hamons (Malone/Willard 2009) and Xavier Turner (Perkins) led another outstanding effort on the mound, combining for a two-hitter.
Smith started and pitched the first three innings, allowing just one hit and a walk while striking out four on 55 pitches.
Hamons pitched the next three innings, striking out three with one walk, yielding a solo home run in the fourth inning. Turner pitched the final two scoreless, hitless innings.
At the plate, Turner added three hits, and improved to 7-for-9 with five RBIs over the past two games.
“It was a good, solid effort with timely hitting,” Neill said. “The middle of the lineup is doing what they should be doing and we got some other guys who are working on it.”
Post 83 jumped out to a 6-0 lead through three innings, with the top of the order setting up the heart of the lineup to do some damage.
Leadoff hitter Evan Laser (Perkins) opened with a walk in the first inning and Trey Keegan (Sandusky) followed with the same.
Cody Koch (Perkins 2009/Cincinnati) hit a one-out RBI single to plate Laser and Spencer Bryant (Perkins 2010) did the same to bring in Keegan for a 2-0 lead.
In the fourth, Laser led off again with a walk and Keegan doubled, setting up Turner for a two-run single to make it 4-0.
Koch then added another RBI single to score Turner.
In the fifth Laser hit an RBI single to score Derek Colston for a 7-1 advantage.
Turner singled to lead off the sixth and Koch was hit by a pitch, and both runners advanced into scoring position on of a passed ball.
Bryant drew a walk to load the bases and Matt Gundlach (Ashland/Perkins 2009) hit a single through the left side to score Turner for an 8-1 lead.
Koch scored moments later on a wild pitch to make it 9-1.
Adam Manner closed out the scoring with an RBI single to push the advantage to 10-1.
Kyle Fluharty of Willard also scored a run.
“Offensively, it was another good day all-around, but I really thought we played a good game defensively,” Neill said. “Our left side in particular with Xavier at third and Matt (Gundlach) at shortstop are getting comfortable and outfield-wise we covered a lot of green grass out there.”
Post 83 has two days off and will be in action again Sunday when it hosts a doubleheader with Bucyrus Post 181, slated for a 1 p.m. start.
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