Over the course of the 2018 season, Tanner Cunningham has proven to be one of the most competitive guys one could find on the baseball diamond.
And on Tuesday evening, the resilient Valley Indian, along with the rest of his teammates on the Waverly Post 142 Shockers’ baseball program, came up large.
Cunningham’s gritty four-and-one-thirds on the mound, along with a walkoff single that scored Garrett Hurd, allowed Waverly to rally back from a 6-3 deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning en route to claiming yet another walkoff victory with a 7-6 victory over the Chillicothe Post 62 Riverbats on Tuesday evening in the American Legion Region V Tournament at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe.
For Jonathan Teeters, the contest proved to be more of the same from a Waverly Post 142 group that has simply not relented in 2018.
“I’ve said multiple times this season that these group of guys we have do not quit, and tonight was more of the same,” Teeters said.
After the Shockers obtained two-out lightning in the first frame from Talon Osborne, who doubled, and back-to-back singles from Hurd and Kannon Pack, which scored Osborne, Post 142 was able to maintain its 1-0 advantage through four innings of action as Cunningham settled in on the hill. Overall, the senior-to-be gave up just two hits over the first four frames as Waverly maintained its 1-0 advantage.
“Tanner battled through a little over 4 innings for us,” Teeters said. “We didn’t do him any favors defensively, but he was able to keep his composure and throw strikes.”
However, Post 62 battled back. Singles by Macky McDonald and JD Blevins were followed by a walk by Harley Patterson, and from there, back-to-back-to-back singles from Josh Morgan, John Salyer, and Jeremy Brooks allowed Post 62 to put up a four-run fifth frame as Chillicothe rallied back to take the point away.
Post 142, however, came right back with a resilient effort of their own.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, a two-out error allowed Jalen Miller to come up large with a two-out single to score Ian Gillen, while Talon Osborne’s double scored Miller to bring Waverly within a run.
And even when an error allowed a pair of runners to score in the top of the sixth frame, Waverly didn’t relent.
Down 6-3 in the game’s final half-frame, Post 142 began its huge rally as Clayton Howell, who pinch-hit for Cody Lewis, doubled, and Gillen walked, which allowed Miller to drive in Howell on a sacrifice fly.
With Gillen still aboard, Osborne and Hurd drew back-to-back walks, which allowed Pack to tie the score with a two-RBI single to center. Another walk by Jake Reed then set up Cunningham for the final heroics, as Cunningham, with the bases loaded, singled to left to bring in Pack and begin the celebration as Waverly stayed in the American Legion Region V Winner’s Bracket with the comeback victory.
“I’m very proud of how we kept fighting,” Teeters said. “We took it one pitch at a time and was able to get out of there with a win.”
With the victory, Waverly moved to 19-8 overall. They’ll play Circleville Post 134 on Wednesday at 5:15 p.m.