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For an exhibition game, this one didn’t lack for excitement.
The Lancaster Post 31 senior team rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to edge a scrappy junior squad, 3-2 on Friday night at Eggleton Field.
The juniors, in the traditional P-31 Legion baseball exhibition game, held a 2-0 lead going to the seventh when the seniors, who were held to one hit prior to what was their final at-bat, rallied for the win.
Adam Eubanks, who had walked earlier in the inning, dashed home from third base on a wild pitch to give the seniors the winning run.
“Our guys kept playing hard and I had the confidence that they would come back,” Post 31 coach Keith Lewis said.
Tyler Rogers, the Andrew Jackson standout who is headed to the University of South Carolina Lancaster to play baseball in the fall, sliced the juniors’ lead in half on one swing with a home run to left-center field to make it a 2-1 game.
Brien Clyburn then lifted a pop-fly double down the right field line to keep the rally going. Ricky Lewis then singled home Clyburn to deadlock the game at 2-all.
Eubanks then drew a walk and Trai Sanders followed with a single to load the bases.
Zack Rollings struck out and Lewis was nailed at home for the second out when Dalton Johnson couldn’t get down a suicide squeeze.
The suspense soon ended as Eubanks tallied on the wild pitch.
“It was a tough loss, but I’m proud of the guys for the way they battled all night,” P-31 juniors coach Brant Barnes said. “We had no errors and walked one. I think we will be fine. We had a 100 percent effort from front to back.”
“We used four pitchers and only gave up a walk,” P-31 juniors pitching coach Palmer Hudson said.
The juniors were held to three hits – one each from Chandler Neal, Kholby Pate and Tripp Wright.
“That was the key,” Barnes said. “I think if we can hit, we will be OK, but we only had three hits tonight.”
The juniors broke on top as Pate’s RBI-hit tallied Jordan Brock for a 1-0 edge.
The juniors padded their lead in the sixth inning as Kendall Knight scored on pass ball.
“We accomplished what we wanted to do,” Lewis said. “We were able to see our players perform in a game situation. Hats off to the junior team for playing hard.”
Logan Segee, one of seven pitchers used by the seniors, worked a scoreless seventh to notch the win.
Trai Sanders, Richie Robinson, Eubanks, Lewis, Colt Ellis and Clyburn each drew mound time for the seniors.
As a group, they yielded three hits, four walks and struck out nine.
“We had a good effort against a junior team which played tough from the opening pitch,” P-31 coach Steve Sinclair said. “I think the fans in here saw a good game and we appreciate them coming out and supporting both teams. There’s a lot going on this time of year with school closing, so to have the fans in here added to the game atmosphere. It was a good start, a start we can build on.”
P-31 athletic officer Jeff Cato said he was pleased.
“It was a great game and a great way to start our Legion baseball season,” said Cato, who is in his first season leading the Lancaster Legion baseball program. “I thought both teams had a good showing tonight.”
The P-31 junior team will open its season Monday when it visits Chester.
The Lancaster senior squad will play host to Fort Mill Post 43 on Monday. Both League V games start at 7 p.m.