Tyler Porter and three relievers combined on a four-hitter, and the Ada Post 72 Braves continued their recent pattern of big innings with a pair of late three-run rallies en route to a 6-0 victory over Post 312 from St. Charles, Mo., in their rain-delayed opener Wednesday at the American Wood Bat Classic.
With the shutout, the Post 72 squad equallied its longest winning streak of the season (four games) and moved four games above .500 (at 19-15) for the first time this season.
The Braves were scheduled to meet a team from Pinnacle, Neb., at 10:30 a.m. and the Post 189 Outlaws at 3:30 p.m. today as they continue pool play in the 40-team tournament. Chandler’s Jon Gray was due to get his third start of the summer in Game 1, and Roff’s Blake Logan will start Game 2.
“The shutout is important, because if there is a tie in the pool, the first tiebreaker is runs allowed,” Post 72 coach Travis Graham said. “That hurt us last year (when the Braves lost just one game in the tournament but didn’t advance out of their pool).
“(St. Charles) had already won a game in the pool, and they were a pretty decent team,” he added. “It took us a couple of innings to get used to the wood bats, but we were hitting the ball hard, so we knew something good was going to happen.”
Porter (2-0) allowed four hits and struck out two in his four innings of work, and David Cagle, Blake Wheat and Logan didn’t allow a hit over the final three innings to seal the win.
“Porter did a good job — he was able to work out of jams in the second, third and fourth innings,” Graham said. “Cagle, Wheat and Logan came in and closed the door after we had that big inning (a three-run fifth).”
The Braves scored all three of their runs in the fifth after two men were out to snap a scoreless tie. Saulyer Saxon singled with one out, Tim Wallen and Tanner Bell walked with two outs to load the bases, and Saxon scored the game’s first run on a passed ball. Logan then delivered a two-run single to make it 3-0.
In the sixth, Les Wesberry led off with a double, pinch-hitter Shakir McCillip drew a walk, and Saxon delivered a run-scoring double to right. Bell’s two-out single plated Ada’s final two runs.
The Braves — 3-0 since Gray and Logan rejoined the team after missing nine games in late June — outhit Post 312 just 7-4, but they made the most of their opportunities in a game that began at 10:30 p.m., after rain pushed back the scheduled start time by five hours. Saxon finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI, and Wesberry was 2-for-3 in the win.
“We knew if we got everybody together we were going to be a pretty good team,” Graham said. “Everybody has plenty of playing time and experience now, and everybody is playing with a lot of confidence.”