Post 31 loses playoff opener to Gaffney, 10-0

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By Greg Summers

American Legion Post 31 Junior Baseball coach Dickie Howard didn’t sugarcoat his team’s home loss Monday night to Gaffney Post 109 in their best-of-three playoff series.
“It was rough…. We just made too many mistakes,” Howard said.
The visiting American Legion Post 109 junior team scored three runs in the top of the first inning and silenced the P-31 bats, winning the road game by a 10-0 margin.
“The whole truth is, it was like we didn’t want to be out there,” Howard said, in lamenting the team’s lackluster performance and costly fielding miscues.
Post 31 was behind 5-0 going into the bottom of the third before it saw anything resembling a rally.
They had runners on second and third with one out, but a ground out, followed by a strikeout, ended the inning.
Gaffney added another run in the fourth inning, three more runs in the fifth and one in the sixth inning for the lopsided win. Four Post 109 runs came from Lancaster errors.
Post 31 pitcher Bry Neal took the loss. He worked three innings, striking out one batter and walking one. He allowed five runs on six hits.
Ashton Phillips then came on to pitch 2/3 of an inning. He struck out one, but walked three batters, giving up one earned run.
Zac Blackmon pitched the final 2 1/3 innings of the game. Blackmon struck out one, walked two and allowed six hits.
At the plate, Alex Griffin, Ashton Phillips, Josh Ribelin, Cannon Stogner and Tyler Vespe each singled for the Post 31.
The juniors traveled to Gaffney on Tuesday for a must-win Game 2. The results of the game were not available by press time.
With team ace Landon Deese scheduled to start on the mound, Howard was upbeat about the team’s chances as they boarded the bus Tuesday afternoon for the ride to Cherokee County.
The Post 31 junior baseball team made the playoffs as the runners-up in League V.
If Post 31 won the second game, they will host a third game at 7 p.m. today at Lancaster’s Eggleton Field.
“If we show some enthusiasm, we’ll be OK. If we play like    we’re capable of playing, we’ll be right back home,” Howard said.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misstated that Game 3 would be played at 7 p.m. Thursday. The game is 7 p.m. today, July 10.

Follow reporter Greg Summers on Twitter @GregSummersTLN or contact him at (803) 283-1156.