Playing Gaston Post 144-266 for the second time in three nights, Maiden Post 240 scored its most runs of the season in a 10-4 win Tuesday at Maiden High School.
“They came alive tonight, and against good pitching,” Maiden coach Justin Hawkins said of the Salamanders’ offense. “We faced them the other night and I don’t know if it’s these guys that brought it out in us or what.”
Post 240 got its bats to come alive in the later innings of Sunday’s 7-3 win at Gaston. But on Tuesday, Maiden started quickly in sending baseballs flying all over the park – and a couple out as well.
The offensive onslaught began in the first inning when center fielder Ivan Huffman erased an early 1-0 deficit with his third home run of the young Legion season. He sent a 3-1 offering from Gaston starter Zach Summerville over the right-field fence for a two-run shot after Jay Sipe had drawn a leadoff walk. Mac Beam later scored on a throwing error to put the hosts ahead 3-1.
The Braves pulled level in the top of the second. Carter Merrill led off with a home run to center, and Wes Hall’s sacrifice fly against Maiden starter Dalton James scored Logan Russell.
But Maiden retook the lead in the home half of the frame – this time for good. With two outs in the inning, Cy Spencer reached on a throwing error. Huffman then blooped a single down the line in right to move Spencer to third. Beam and Jacob Cauble followed with back-to-back RBI singles for a 6-3 advantage.
“All three coaches are just really preaching, ‘Find your pitch, hit your pitch, don’t swing at stuff out of the zone with less than two strikes,’” Hawkins said. “Thankfully it’s coming alive because we have a really good ballteam.”
Gaston got a run back in the fourth. With runners on the corners, James was called for his second balk of the night. He recovered to strand two more runners, however, to preserve a two-run lead.
The hosts tacked on a pair of runs in their half of the inning. After Huffman narrowly missed out on his second home run with a deep flyout at the wall in right, Beam doubled off the wall in center and Peyton Laney did the same two hitters later to plate Spencer and Beam.
Beam led off the sixth with a no-doubter to left for a solo homer. Following a walk and hit batsman, Landon Leonard then delivered an RBI single to bring home Cauble for the game’s final run.
James made it through four innings on the mound, and from there, it was the Eli Carr show. The Post 240 reliever pitched the final three innings, scattering two hits and two walks while striking out six.
Both walks came in the seventh as Gaston loaded the bases. But Carr struck out Jayson Szot and Merrill to finish the win.
“Eli Carr came in tonight and pretty much shut them down,” Hawkins said.
Beam led the offense by going 3-for-3 as he finished a triple shy of the cycle. He also drew a walk and scored twice. Huffman went 2-for-4 with two runs of his own. Cauble drew a pair of walks as Gaston issued six free passes on the night.
The victory is the third in a row for Maiden, who improves to 4-2 overall and 3-0 in East Area IV division play. Post 240’s home game Wednesday night against Union County has been postponed to a later date, so the Salamanders next play Friday night against Gastonia Post 23 at Sims Legion Park.