Longhorns out of playoffs after back-to-back losses
By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
The Beaufort County Post 15 Longhorns’ stay in the North Carolina Conference 1 Junior American Legion playoffs was short-lived.
In a 10-hour span Saturday afternoon, the Longhorns went from a team with title hopes to being the first team ousted from the conference playoffs.
The Longhorns suffered a 12-4 defeat at the hands of Snow Hill Post 94 in an early afternoon affair, then were dealt a 3-0 loss by D.H. Conley later that evening to end their playoff run in the double-elimination postseason tournament.
It was a tough day from the onset for Beaufort County. Snow Hill jumped on the Longhorns with a pair of runs in the first two innings of the playoff opener and never looked back.
After building a 4-1 lead after five innings, Post 94 erupted for six runs in the top of the sixth inning to ensure the victory.
Will Bynum, Matt Jones and Wes Sowers all had RBIs during the inning as Snow Hill took advantage of three Longhorns’ errors during the sixth.
Errors seemed to be the theme of the opener, as the Longhorns committed seven errors on the afternoon, leading to seven unearned runs.
Post 15 put together a mini-rally in the bottom half of the sixth as Kevin Sparks led off with a home run and then Kyle Peaks delivered a two-run blast over the 320-foot marking on the right field wall to cut the lead to 10-4.
But Post 94 was too much to handle, as they scored a pair of runs in the seventh to cap a 12-4 win.
The Longhorns returned to Futrell Field as the visitor in the nightcap against D.H. Conley. However, the offensive struggles continued.
Caleb Hines led off the game with a seeing-eye single to right field, and after that, the offense was virtually dormant, as Post 15 squandered a brilliant pitching performance by Hines, losing 3-0 to a D.H. Conley squad that they had beat both times that they played during the regular season.
Hines went the distance for Post 15, pitching four scoreless innings before Conley pushed three runs across the plate in the bottom of the fifth.
Conley’s Chris Ward led off the inning with a single before scoring the game’s first run on a infield single by Brandon Bott. The error bug bit Post 15 once again later in the inning, as Bott and Trevor Spencer scored on a two-out throwing error by third baseman Kevin Sparks.
Hines allowed just one earned run on five hits, but was out dueled by Conley’s Chad Hardee who pitched a three-hit shutout to help Conley (14-7) stay alive in the elimination game.
Post 15 ends the season with a 13-12 record, and despite the disappointing outing Saturday, Duke was still pleased with how the season panned out. He’s also already turning his focus towards next season.
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