By Maurice Patton
COLUMBIA — For Scott Beasley and the Columbia Post 19 Seniors, Tuesday night’s first game of the season against visiting Huntsville (Ala.) Post 237 was just that – a first game.
The two teams combined for 28 walks, four hit batters and just 11 hits as the hosts won 17-5 in six innings.
Originally scheduled as a doubleheader, rain delayed the start and rust prompted both coaching staffs to cut the night short.
“It served a purpose,” Beasley said regarding the contest. “We saw a couple of things. I liked the effort. It’s always a positive when they play hard.”
Weather aside, the night got off to a rough start as Post 19 starter Dawson Hargrove walked four in two-thirds of an inning before he was stunningly ejected by the field umpire, presumably for expressing his displeasure over a questionable strike zone.
Taking advantage of six hits and 16 free passes, Post 19 scored multiple runs in four of its five at-bats – including seven in the fifth inning, when they sent 12 to the plate, drew six walks and recorded just two outs before going back on defense.
Brett Bell had two of Post 19’s six hits, with Nathaniel Huntzinger and Brandon O’Brien each adding singles. Drake Blackwood doubled, as did Brantly Whitwell; the Spring Hill graduate and Columbia State signee added one of those ‘effort’ plays as he ranged into the left-center field alley to flag down a deep drive by the visitors and save a fourth-inning run.
Hargrove was the first of six pitchers to see work for the hosts. He, Ben Farrell, Shelton Blackwell, Hudson Adams, Huntzinger and Caden Czajka combined to allow five hits and strike out 12.
For the most part, though, the game was an opportunity for Post 19 to get on the field before traveling to Murray, Ky., this weekend for the Mayfield Post 26 Invitational tournament.
“The Summertown kids had a little quicker turnaround,” Beasley said, referring to Blackwood and Grant and Gavin Burleson, who played in the Class A state tournament a couple of weeks ago. “For most of these guys, it was their first time (to play competitively) in a month.
“We’re just knocking the rust off. Pretty much everybody got three at-bats, their first against live pitching in a while. We’ll build on it this weekend. There’s a lot to build on and a long way to go.”
Photos by Chris Yow / SM-Tn Sports