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Consider the Wilson Post 13 American Legion baseball team dialed in for an upcoming week of challenges in Area I East play.
Any remnants from a layoff that were on display in Wednesday night’s 10-0 win over Farmville Post 151 were shrugged aside Friday in Fleming Stadium as Post 13 had its way with an undermanned Ahoskie Post 102 in a 25-0, five-inning win that was essentially over after the second.
Wilson, which won its third straight game to improve to 4-2 overall and 3-2 in Area I East, were the beneficiaries of 10 Ahoskie errors in putting up back to back 11-run innings in the second and third. While that was going on, 12 of the 13 Wilson players that saw action reached base. Post 13 produced 17 hits from 11 different players, including a grand slam from catcher Tyler Sherrod in the third. Dom Gaetano and Cedric Kirby each had three hits.
“We had much better approaches to the plate tonight, whether they caught it or not,” Post 13 head coach Noah Edens said. “A lot of guys were seeing it better, and some of the outs were hard outs. Even some of the balls (Ahoskie) kicked, they were put in play really hard. We hit the ball a lot better all around.
Ahoskie (0-7, 0-5 Area I East), which was missing “five or six starters” according to head coach Chris Towell and came with just nine players, was shut down by right-hander Jaelynn Melton over the course of four innings. Melton struck out five and walked two, only giving up a pair of infield hits in the fourth. However, with runners on, he struck out the next two batters to preserve the shutout. Parker Garris, Post 13’s designated closer, saw action for the first time in the fifth and struck out the side to end it.
Melton, who said he struggled establishing the slider during his senior year at Fike, threw it effectively against Post 102, mixing in a three-pitch blend of fastball, change and slider ahead of his first season at Brunswick Community College.
“I finally got that back working,” Melton said of the slide piece. “I’d throw it in high school, but to come out here and throw it and get it back working for next year, it helps a lot.”
Offensively, Wilson sent 15 batters to the plate in each of the second and third innings after plating an unearned run in the first. Ahoskie starter Slade Cowan, the loser, was not helped by six errors in the second inning that mostly allowed Post 13 to take extra bases. Wilson had nine hits in the inning, highlighted by a bases-clearing double from Matt Jacobs and a two-run single from Gaetano. In the third, Tyler Wells entered as a pinch hitter and slammed a two-run double. Yet the big blow in the inning came with Wilson already holding a commanding 17-0 lead. Sherrod ran into a pitch from Ahoskie reliever Trent Mumford and carried it over the wall for a no-doubt grand slam.
“I don’t think we’ve been swinging the bat great these past few games,” Sherrod said. “To have 25 runs put up, I think that’s a major step in the right direction for us that if we can keep this going, I think we can get the wins rolling.
Seven Ahoskie runs were unearned as overthrows, boots, or just flat-out drops were the order of the evening for the visitors.
“It’s kind of tough when you’re trying to pack an entire season in a month, and these kids have just finished school,” Towell said. “We draw from an area about six or seven counties, so I’ve got kids driving two and a half hours just to come to an away game. We’re just doing the best we can.”
For Post 13, the competition will step up considerably beginning Monday, when it visits Wayne County Post 11 at Goldsboro High. Wednesday, Pitt County Post 39 — a team that handed Wilson a narrow 5-4 loss in its season opener — comes to Fleming Stadium.
“It’s a step in the right direction for us offensively,” Sherrod said. “We threw the ball extremely well with Jaelynn and Parker coming in. Hats off to them, too.”
Score by innings:
WP-Jaelynn Melton (2-0) 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO. LP-Slade Cowan 2 IP, 9 H, 12 R, 8 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Wilson: Dom Gaetano 3-4, 4 RBI, Cedric Kirby 3-4, RBI, Matt Jacobs 2-3, 2B, 4 RBI, Tyler Sherrod 2-5, HR, 5 RBI; Ahoskie: Spencer Simonowich 1-2, Dallas Trevena 1-2.