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Double-header mania

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Big Island Legion Team does double-split

By Mike Forster

 

In baseball, you never know.

Take Big Island Post 217's doubleheader with Danville Post 325.

The bottom line is that the teams split the pair of seven-stanza sessions.

But, the two games couldn't have been more different.

In the first contest, Danville took a 4-3 nail biter.  In the nightcap, the Islanders prevailed, 18-11.  The only nail biting going on in that one came from the guy keeping the scoreboard, afraid he was going to run out of numbers.

"We had a chance to bust it open (in the first game)," said Big Island manager Kelley Russell.  "But it didn't happen."

It sure happened in the first inning of the second tilt.  Russell watched his charges ring up a whopping 10 runs in the first inning.

Everyone in the lineup hit home plate during the scoring extravaganza.  Cal Hodgert led the parade, walloping a grand slam.  Josh Padgett kicked in a pair of hits to help the cause.

"We were lighting it up pretty good," Russell understated. 

The lads seemed to put it on cruise control, which proved to be a mistake.  The Dannies chipped away and, before anyone knew what was happening, had made it a 10-9 game in the fourth.

Outstanding relief work from Zach Duff helped to stanch the bleeding.  The rising senior worked two and two-thirds innings, before yielding to Garrett Price, who retired the side in the seventh.

Meanwhile, the dormant Islander bats awoke with a vengeance as the team racked up eight runs in the final two innings.  Hodgert and Quentin Palmer had key hits in that two-inning romp.

The split pushed the Islanders to a record of 3-3 before they headed to Salem for a doubleheader with the Roanoke wrecking crew.

After that Monday journey, Big Island stood at 4-4, the result of yet another split.  "If you get a split with Roanoke at their place, that's good," Russell said.

What wasn't good was that the Islander could have picked up the sweep.  Instead, they lost the opener, 8-4, as they managed but a single run after loading the bases in the fifth.  And they left men stranded on second and third in the sixth.

"We made too many mistakes," rued Russell.

Not so in the second game.  Behind the crisp pitching of Stephen Huber, the Islanders prevailed, 10-5.

The Belmont Abby College-bound Huber went the distance, only having to throw 83 pitches while striking out six. 

Hodgert again proved mighty, mashing a solo home run in the first and racking up four RBIs over the course of the game.  Zach Coleman and Cameron Byrd each kicked in a pair of hits.

Duff, as usual, was a workhorse, as he caught 10 of 13 innings in the doubleheader.