Wednesday night’s battle of the Post 22 teams was nothing short of bizarre.
“If you hadn’t been there, you wouldn’t have believed it,” said Legionnaires coach Ed Wages.
The Legionnaires carried a 18-3 lead into the fifth inning, where, in order to continue to seven innings, the Union Junior Legion would need to score seven runs, which they did, avoiding the 10 run mercy rule and staying alive.
Union then held the Legionnaires scoreless in the final two innings and compiled an additional nine runs of their own to claim a 19-18 come-from-behind win.
The Legionnaires pounced quickly, batting around in the first inning and plating eight runs with Mark Hardy doubling twice. Hardy’s second hit of the inning drove in the last two runs of the inning for the early 8-0 lead.
Union tallied a run in their half of the inning with a sacrifice fly courtesy of Dustin West.
The Legionnaires received a couple of base runners in the second but were unable to produce a run in the inning and Union tacked on one in the bottom of the inning when Josh Gass RBI singled to score Jacob Roper.
The Legionnaires answered with a whopping 10 runs in the top of the third. Buddy Hardy singled, walked, and scored two times in the inning. Octavious Thompson, Nathan Johnson and Third Henderson each contributed hits before Union could escape the inning.
However, the bats were still cold for Union who had no answer offensively.
In the fourth, Union held the Legionnaires to the first three up, three down of the game and followed that with a single run in the bottom of the inning when Gass’ fielder’s choice brought Roper easily across home plate for a 18-3 ballgame.
Then things got interesting.
Jermaine Lindsey tripled down the right field line for the Legionnaires but was left on when Union’s defense seemed to spring to life.
With intensity, Union returned to the dugout and at long last, the bats got hot.
Bradley McKeown hit a rope to left field for a double. West hit into left field and Phillip King singled into right field to score McKeown. Roper, who was a model of consistency at the plate, collected his third hit of the game with a two-RBI line drive to left center. Gass singled to center, scoring Roper, and Danny Glenn collected an infield single before Kennedy Beatty was hit by a pitch to load the bases. David Burris cleared the bags with triple to deep center field to give Union its final runs of the inning and continue to the sixth, 18-10.
Burris had taken the mound in the third inning and returned to the hill to record three straight k’s in the sixth.
That brought a fired up Union team back to offense where Glenn turned a single into an inside the park grand slam scoring King, Michael Todd Harris and Gass before he crossed home himself.
Beatty reached on an error and scored on another to further chip away at the lead.
A ground out ended the rally but again, the Legionnaires went three up, three down in the top of the seventh.
Down by three runs, Union had one last chance to complete the comeback. West walked and scored on a passed ball, Phillip King doubled and Harris reached on a walk before Roper sacrificed to plate the tying run. Glenn used a fielder’s choice to score Gass for the winning run and bring an end to an unbelievable game.
As fans piled out of the Timken Complex, the question most were asking was, “What just happened?”, while some simply muttered, “What a crazy game.”