Athens mercies Post 39 in league opener

By Paul Boggs -

Pomeroy Post 39’s Trey Pickens singles to center during the team’s American Legion baseball game against Athens on Thursday.

Paul Boggs/OVP Sports

THE PLAINS, Ohio — Momma warned us there would be days like these.

Unfortunately for the Pomeroy Post 39 American Legion baseball squad, an evening like Thursday’s occurred in its 8th District Legion League opener at Athens.

The Post 39 club fell behind 14-0 after the opening two innings, and eventually lost 14-4 at Ed Rannow Field in The Plains.

Athens amassed 10 runs on 10 hits off Pomeroy pitcher Cameron Richmond in the opening inning, then scored four earned runs on more four hits in the second stanza to lead 14-0 after two.

Christian Speelman, who took over on the mound in the second inning, settled down after the frame —but the Post 39 offense didn’t dent the scoreboard until the sixth when it scored once and in the seventh when it crossed three times.

The contest was called following the seventh inning with the 10-run mercy rule.

The loss left Post 39 at 1-2, although the 10-run differential in the league standings could come back to haunt the Shock & Awe later on.

Post 39 had high hopes of a good game at Athens, but those were quickly dashed by the 10-run opening inning.

While Richmond only worked two-thirds of an inning and allowed 10 runs on 10 hits, only four of those Athens runs were earned.

In fact, Joe Thomas reached on a leadoff error, setting up six consecutive basehits before the initial out was recorded.

Waylon Bradbury belted a two-run double off the centerfield fence for a 3-0 lead, scoring both Kamron Curry and Chace Harris, who had back-to-back singles after Thomas’ at-bat.

Aric Russell and Trey Nuzum followed with back-to-back infield hits, setting up a two-run single to center by Zac Smith.

The final five Athens runs in the inning — combining a groundout, a walk to Curry and four more basehits — were all unearned.

Russell made it 10-0 on a double to left, following back-to-back singles by Harris and Bradbury.

Finally, after facing 14 batters with one strikeout, Post 39 coach Eber Pickens replaced Richmond in favor of Blake Johnson.

Johnson struck out the only batter he saw.

In the second, Athens amassed four more runs on four more hits with Speelman issuing three walks.

Thomas and Bradbury both had two-run singles in the second.

From there, Speelman allowed only a Thomas two-out single in the third — and a Wes Shellman two-out double in the fourth.

He faced four Gunners apiece in the third, fourth and fifth frames, followed by retiring Athens 1-2-3 in the sixth.

He struck out seven of the 25 total batters he faced.

Meanwhile, Nuzum was certainly solid in pitching the opening five innings for Athens in earning the win.

He faced four batters apiece in the opening three cantos, before a 1-2-3 fourth frame and facing five more batters in the fifth.

Nuzum allowed only three hits and a pair of leadoff walks, as he struck out eight — including for the final two outs in the fourth and all three outs in the fifth.

Post 39, before plating its four markers over the final two innings, did have early opportunities to score.

Trey Pickens singled to center with one out in the first, but Richmond grounded into a 6-4 fielder’s choice, before Speelman grounded out to second.

Johnson led off the second inning with a walk, and stole second and third, but a twice-bobbled yet concentrated catch by Brandon Layton at second base ended that threat.

Clayton Wood led off the third with a double, as Post 39 again stranded a runner in scoring position.

In the fifth, Billy Harmon walked and Wesley Clark singled to lead off, but Nuzum nailed down the next three Pomeroy batters with strikeouts.

Finally, against Athens’ Austin Bauer in the sixth, Shock & Awe amounted an unearned run with two outs.

Cooper Peterson walked, Jesse Morris singled, and Harmon reached on an error to load the bases.

Peterson scored when Clark collected an infield hit on the next at-bat.

Post 39 attempted to extend the tilt to an eighth inning, but scored only three runs on five hits off Bauer in the seventh.

Kaileb Sheets singled to lead off, then RBI-doubles by Pickens and Speelman scored Sheets and Pickens to make it 14-3.

Morris managed a two-out bloop single to right to plate Speelman, but following a Harmon single to put runners on second and third, Morris was tagged out between third and home.

Post 39 returned to the road, and returned to non-league action, on Saturday at Utica.

Pomeroy then hosts Parkersburg Post 15 on Sunday, as those two teams split a doubleheader last weekend.

First pitch for the weekend twinbills is set for 1 p.m.

Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106

Pomeroy Post 39’s Trey Pickens singles to center during the team’s American Legion baseball game against Athens on Thursday. Post 39’s Trey Pickens singles to center during the team’s American Legion baseball game against Athens on Thursday. Paul Boggs/OVP Sports

By Paul Boggs