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LELAND—Randall Rabon’s home run off the scoreboard highlighted Leland Post 68’s 9-7 victory over Whiteville June 4 in an American Legion baseball game at North Brunswick High School.
The game was the home opener for Post 68 and also was Post’s first victory of the season after two defeats.
Ethan Cox was the winning pitcher, giving up nine hits and five runs in five innings. He walked one and struck out four. Post 68 made three errors in the first five innings and five for the nine-inning game.
After Whiteville scored in the first, Post 68 tied the score in the bottom of the inning on a Wally Kamfolt groundout.
Post 68 scored five runs in the second against Michael Bass in taking a 6-1 lead. Jay Gause walked and Kyle Huffman singled. Logan Tripp doubled to center, driving in a run. Rabon singled to left field, driving in another run. Mikhail Wheeler singled up the middle, driving in two runs for a 5-1 lead. Nick Spell walked, stole second and scored on a passed ball when Josh Powell was at bat.
Whiteville scored four runs in the top of the third to cut the lead to 6-5, but Post 68 scored twice in the bottom of the inning. Gause led off with a double and eventually scored with two outs on a wild pitch. Rabon then homered to left center field, the ball hitting the scoreboard with a thud.
“He’s hit it well all year for us in high school,” manager Randy Fennell said. “He turned on that fastball and it got out of here in a hurry. He’s fun to watch.”
Post 68 scored its final run in the fourth. Pat Kamfolt walked, stole second and scored on Wally Kamfolt’s double up the middle, and that gave West a 9-5 lead.
Whiteville scored twice in the sixth against Josh Hamilton. Jacob Morehouse entered the game with one out and the bases loaded, and he ended the inning by getting a strikeout and a groundout. He pitched two innings, striking out one and giving up one hit.
Gause pitched the final two innings. He gave up one hit and struck out five.
Whiteville reliever Matt Russell kept his team in the game by striking out nine batters in four innings. He walked one and gave up one hit.
For Fennell, the third game of the season was one in which he was still trying to get an idea of how good defensively the team can be.
“We have been experimenting with some different defensive lineups, trying to find out what’s going to work best,” he said.
Offensively, Fennell is confident the team will be consistent in hitting the ball.
“When we hit our groove,” he said, “we’re going to swing the bats well.
Right now we’re trying to find out where everybody fits on the hill, who’s going to be our starters, our middle guys, our closers. Three have come back who are not in pitching shape.
“Ethan was red-shirted at Appalachian State, but he hasn’t pitched a whole lot in the spring. Even though he pitched a pretty good ballgame tonight, he threw more pitches than he should have.
“We’re still working on (Jacob) Morehouse, getting him in shape. He was ineligible during the spring at high school.
“And Aaron Evans was on the shelf at Brunswick Community College and hadn’t pitched in the last 30 games or so for them.
“But by the playoffs, our goal is to have everybody they need to be.”
Post 68 opened the season losing 3-2 to New Hanover Post 10 on June 2 and losing 22-21 to Jacksonville on June 3.
“That was the most incredible game I have ever been a part of,” Fennell said. “We made more defensive errors in one night than (we) made probably in the entire season last year.
“But the other team was making errors. They would score five, we would score three. They would score six, we would score eight. It was unbelievable. I think it wound up being a four and one-half hour ballgame.”
Against Whiteville, Spell finished 2-for-3 with a walk. Wally Kamfolt was 1-for-3 with a double and one RBI. Josh Powell had one RBI. Gause was 1-for-3 with a walk and a double. Huffman was 1-for-3. Tripp was 1-for-3 with a double and one RBI. Rabon was 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs. Wheeler was 1-for-4 with a single. He also stole three bases.