BENNINGTON -- Playing on a bright -- and hot -- Sunday afternoon at Mount Anthony Union High School, the Post 13 American Legion baseball team put the ball in play against Lakes Region in a doubleheader.
But while the balls fell for Post 13 in the opener, the team couldn't find the right breaks in the second game.
Post 13 opened the series with a 5-4 win, while after a short break Lakes Region delivered a 6-3 win in game two.
"I can't be upset that we are putting the bat on the ball, but I told the guys I want grounders and line drives," Post 13 coach Jaime Carey said. "That's exactly what we did in the first game, put the bat on the ball effectively and not keep popping out. In the second game, we put the bat on the ball, but kept popping out."
In game one, Lakes Region opened up a lead in the third inning, but Post 13 came back and responded in the bottom half.
Starting with a Wyatt Whitman single, two more Post 13 batters got on base to bring up Matt Upright. Upright hit a single, plating Whitman, and in the process loading the bases for Zach Bahan.
The Castleton State player delivered, roping a double that got past the left fielder and cleared the bases and put Post 13 up 4-1.
"I think we made some mistakes," Lakes Region coach Bob Godlewski said about his team's performance in the first game. "Errors happen, the ball gets by the left fielder and two extra runs score. That's not the end of the game. We have to get better at hitting the ball and I think we did that in the second game.
Lakes Region started clawing back in the fourth, as pitcher Justin Owens hit a triple then plated on a sacrifice hit to make it 4-2. In the fifth, Nate O'Shea hit an RBI double to plate a run, then scored on a single by Pat Mumford to tie things up at 4-4.
The team couldn't put another run past Post 13 pitcher Matt Upright (complete game three-hitter), leaving the door open for Post 13 to open up the lead again.
The home team did that in the sixth, as Weston Lozier got on with a base hit and was brought around on Whitman's third hit of the day. Up 5-4, Upright closed the door in the top of the seventh to give his team the first game of the day.
"Making plays, that's where your defense is behind your pitchers, that's exactly what we were doing," Carey said. "We were making the plays we needed to make. Lozier led off with a line drive then scored on another hit. That's the way you are supposed to play baseball and that is what we did."
But after a short break between games, Lakes Region came out in game two and went wire-to-wire with its lead, going up in the second inning and never looking back.
The scoring started in the second. Sam Eaton led off with a single to start, then moved around the bases to third. Will Claessens scored Eaton on a single that just dropped into the outfield.
In the third, Lakes Region scored two more runs, but also saw center fielder Jonah Farrow tossed out of the game when we barreled into Post 13 catcher Adam Maitland at home plate.
After the collision, Eaton hit into a fielder's choice to plate a run, then O'Shea hit an RBI single to make it 3-0.
Lakes Region added another run in the fourth on an error, and plate two in the sixth, including one on a throwing error and another on an RBI hit by Justin Owens, to make it 6-0 going into the bottom of the inning.
That half-inning proved to be the best for Post 13, as the team finally found a way to get balls to drop onto the grass instead of a Lakes Region glove. During the second game, Post 13 went to the plate 29 times. Two ended in strike outs, two were walks, one was a hit batsmen, and the rest were sprayed into the field.
"In the sixth inning, we started hitting grounder and line drives," Carey said. "And look what happened."
Baker started the inning off with a single, then Whitman brought him in on a double to make it 6-1. Next up was Upright, who hit an RBI single to plate Whitman. After a groundout by Bahan, Cameron Bow launched a ball to center that plated Upright and make it 6-3. But with only one out, Lakes Region went to the bullpen and Brett Patterson came in and forced two groundouts to end the inning.
Brady Sausville started for Post 13 in game two, while Baker pitched the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and Whitman pitched the final frame. Sausville and Baker both struck out two batters, while Whitman struck out one in his only inning. No player recorded multiple hits for Post 13.
Darling struck out one while walking two and hitting another batter, giving up five hits. Patterson struck out one in his relief stint. Claessens had three singles for Lakes Region.
Post 13 is now 3-5 on the year, and the team returns to action next Saturday at home against Rutland. The game will be a doubleheader starting at noon.