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It took the Shelbyville American Legion Post 37 baseball team until the district tournament to get above the .500 mark last year.
It took it one game to do so this year.
Post 37 rallied to beat Rockport (Ind.) 5-2 in its season-opener Sunday at Clear Creek Park.
Shelbyville, which lost its first three games last year on its way to a 12-15 finish, took a 2-0 lead in the third inning before Post 254 rallied to tie it in the fifth frame. Post 37 retook the lead with one run in the bottom of the seventh, then tacked on two more in the eighth to earn the victory.
“I thought we played pretty well for the first game,” Shelbyville Manager Jim Wiley said. “We played a team I thought was very good.”
Four pitchers - Yancey Pritchett, Eddie Mathis, Nolan May and Zac Wiley - combined to hold Rockport to four hits while Alex Doyle and Kipp Moore led Post 37 at the plate. Doyle, a rising senior at Collins, went 3-for-4 and scored one run while Moore, a recent Shelby County graduate, went 2-for-5 with two doubles, an RBI and a run scored in his debut with the team.
Shelbyville took the early lead when Doyle, who was batting ninth in the lineup, singled then scored moments later on Moore’s first double. Moore, who has signed with Murray State, moved to third on a wild pitch, and then scored on Wiley’s sacrifice fly.
Pritchett, the Trinity graduate who spent his freshman year at the University of Cincinnati but is transferring to Bellarmine University this fall, cruised through the first three innings on the mound, giving up one hit and striking out four.
Post 254 tied the game in the fifth, scoring two runs off of Mathis. The recent South Oldham grad, who is also Bellarmine-bound, gave up a leadoff single to Rockport’s No. 8 hitter before walking its ninth batter. He retired the next two before walking another to load the bases for cleanup hitter Nathan Kuester. The Post 254 catcher’s subsequent single scored two to tie the game.
That was the only rough patch for Mathis, the eventual winning pitcher. He gave up two earned runs on three hits while walking three and striking out five in four innings.
Post 37 broke the tie in the bottom of the seventh. Rising Collins senior E.J. Burk and Doyle had back-to-back one-out singles before Drew Greenwood’s two-out single scored Burk, giving Shelbyville the lead for good.
Post 37 added some insurance in the eighth.
On the mound recent Trinity graduate Nolan May replaced Mathis in the eighth. He walked two and struck out three in 1 1/3 innings before Wiley came in to close the door. Wiley, a recent Collins grad also bound for Bellarmine, entered with runners on first and second with one out in the ninth. The co-8th Region Player of the Year – along with Moore – got Rockport’s leadoff batter to hit into a fielder’s choice before striking out Post 254’s No. 2 hitter to end the game.
“There are a few things we need to work on, I think we’ll hit the ball better, but for our first game I was satisfied,” Jim Wiley said.
Post 37 will host its 34th annual Shelbyville American Legion Invitational Tournament Thursday through Sunday at Clear Creek. Shelbyville plays Ashland at 8 p.m. Thursday night in its first game. Post 37 then faces Paducah at 8 p.m. Friday before playing two games Saturday – noon vs. Morehead and 7:30 p.m. vs. PRP. The championship game will be at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
Shelbyville 5, Rockport (Ind.) 2
Rockport Post 254 000 020 000 – 2 4 0
Shelbyville Post 37 002 000 12X – 5 9 0
C.J. Rowe, H. Rowe (8) and Nathan Kuester. Yancey Pritchett, Eddie Mathis (4), Nolan May (8), Zac Wiley (9) and Brady Pfaadt. W – Mathis. L – C.J. Rowe. SV – Wiley. 2B – Kuester (R) 2, Kipp Moore (S) 2. Record - Shelbyville 1-0.
34th annual Shelbyville American Legion Invitational Tournament schedule
At Bobby Stratton Field at Clear Creek Park
3 p.m. – Ashland vs. Morehead; 5:30 p.m. – PRP vs. Paducah; 8 p.m. – Shelbyville vs. Ashland.
3 p.m. – Paducah vs. Morehead; 5:30 p.m. – Ashland vs. PRP; 8 p.m. – Shelbyville vs. Paducah.
Noon – Shelbyville vs. Morehead; 2:30 p.m. – PRP vs. Morehead; 5 p.m. – Ashland vs. Paducah; 7:30 p.m. – Shelbyville vs. PRP.
1 p.m. – Third-place game; 3:30 p.m. – Championship game.