When one looks at the Waverly Post 142 Shockers, that person will find a committed group that finds for one another to the very end.
Post 142, who entered Wednesday evening’s American Legion Region V Winner’s Bracket contest against Circleville Post 134 as the No. 1 seed with a sweep of a pair of affairs
against Post 134 already under its belt, showed why they hold a 19-8 record in 2018 as Post 142 took a 1-0 lead and got out of two early-inning, bases-loaded jams thanks to the effective pitching of Clayton Howell.
However, the Circleville offense, who collected nine hits on the evening, proved to be too much to overcome as Post 134 scored three runs in the fifth and sixth frames en route to a 4-1 victory on Wednesday as Waverly Post 142 was sent to the loser’s bracket with the defeat.
Initially, Post 142 obtained the opening salvo as Ian Gillen’s single back up the middle of the diamond, along with a sacrifice bunt from Wheelersburg’s Jalen Miller and a single from Talon Osborne, allowed Waverly to strike with the opening tally.
From that point, Howell — a three-sport standout at Waverly High — showed off the abilities that made him one of the SOC’s best.
The recent graduate, after working out of a bases-loaded jam by striking out Chris Conrad and by forcing Nick Salyer into a four-unassisted groundout in the bottom half of the first frame, forced Cain Farley to ground into a 1-2-3 double play as Howell kept Waverly in front after two innings of work.
After a one-out triple by Miller didn’t amount to any runs for Waverly, Circleville answered by tying the score in the top of the fourth frame as Nick Salyer’s triple was followed by a sacrifice fly RBI from Travis Grim, which tied the score after four innings of work.
That salvo proved to be a difference-maker as a pair of walks by Conrad and Andrew Barnhart, along with a hit batsman, allowed Salyer to come up large again in the bottom of the fifth with a two-out RBI to give Circleville a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. A wild pitch and a two-out RBI double by Noah Cline allowed Post 134 to score its final two runs in the top half of the sixth en route to the victory.
For the contest, Jalen Miller (2-for-2, triple, sacrifice), Gillen (1-for-3), Osborne (1-for-3) and Jake Reed (walk) were the main producers offensively for Waverly. Howell ultimately went five-and-a-third innings for Post 142, striking out four while allowing only three earned runs during his time on the mound.
With the defeat, Waverly fell to 19-9 overall. They’ll play Hillsboro Post 129 at 4 p.m. on Thursday at VA Memorial Stadium for the rights to a rematch against Post 134, which will commence at 7 p.m.