American Legion Baseball: Garner 9, Apex 2

Post 232 continues its winning ways

cbest@newsobserver.comJune 17, 2013 

— Good pitching and timely hitting keeps adding wins for Garner’s Senior American Legion Baseball squad, which boasts players mostly from Middle Creek and Fuquay-Varina High.

Post 232 completed a three-game regular-season-series sweep of Apex Post 124 – which has players from Apex and Holly Springs – Sunday night with a 9-2 victory.

Graham Edwards provided seven innings of five-hit ball, while Zak Orrison drove in four runs, going 3-for-5 with a double and a home run.

Garner (10-1 overall, 3-0 conference) outscored Apex 39-7 in the series.

“When you give up seven runs to a team in a three-game series, obviously your pitching is doing the job,” said Post 232 manager Chris Cook. “We can pitch it and we played with a different lineup tonight, without (Garrett) Suggs, who’s going to State, and (Brett) Daniels, who’s headed to Carolina. It’s good to play with different lineups and still see the guys be able to do things.”

Apex took a brief 1-0 lead Sunday at Trojan Park in the top of the first, but Garner answered with a run in the bottom half, doing something Post 232 has rarely done this season: draw walks.

Garner took advantage of eight free passes: Kendall Herring drew two walks, while six other Garner batters also walked.

“We have been through about 400 at-bats this season, and that’s the one thing we haven’t done,” Cook said. “We only had about 20 walks entering tonight’s game, and that’s something we want to see change.”

Post 232 went ahead for good in the fourth when three consecutive walks – the last two by Carrington Austin forcing home a run – helped piece together a three-run frame.

In the seventh, Orrison doubled home former Fuquay-Varina High teammate D.J. Burt, and Orrison later scored on a wild pitch.

The eighth saw Garner’s Burt and Lucas Scott walk before Orrison homered to left.

Apex put two runners on in the seventh and loaded the bases in the ninth but couldn’t produce runs.

“It’s one of those years where a lot of our guys are rising seniors, so they’re playing travel ball a lot as well as playing with us,” said Apex manager Tim Harrell.

Post 124 stood 2-9 overall and 1-4 in the conference entering this week and needs a big showing against Johnston County in a three-game set running Friday, Saturday and Sunday to keep its playoff hopes alive. Apex hosts the Friday and Sunday night games.

To succeed there, Post 124 will need to finish games better than it has so far this season. Apex has lost after leading by five runs on four different occasions and saw a seven-run lead slip away against Durham as well.

“That’s part of the youth,” Harrell said. “The longest innings in Legion Baseball are the seventh, eighth and ninth. Maybe at times, we’ve got to the fourth or fifth inning and started thinking about winning. There’s a long way to go still once you get to that point.”

Apex had to string together a pitching staff Sunday night, using four pitchers against Garner. Post 124 gave up six earned runs, five in the game’s final four innings as Garner pulled away.

Post 232 pitchers scattered six hits across the Apex lineup. Post 124 lead off man Luke Harvey was 2-for-4 at the plate, while Alex Yarem had Apex’s only RBI of the night.

Yarem took the pitching loss, thanks to a three-run Garner third. Chase Dennison worked an inning-and-two-thirds of relief without allowing a Post 232 hit.

Best: 919-524-8895; Twitter: @dclaybest

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