Chase Mahoy sat on a fastball he knew was coming.
With the bases loaded, two outs and a full count, Alec Beaver had to throw a strike with his team already trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh.
Mahoy crushed it to the gap in right-center field, scoring three runs and pushing Crawfordsville Post 72 to a healthy advantage in what became a 4-1 victory over Lafayette Post 11 Saturday night in the American Legion District 2 baseball regional at Loeb Stadium.
“We had been knocking on the door the whole game,” said Mahoy, a North Montgomery graduate and current member of Trine University’s baseball team. “We had runners on second and third with one out and we just couldn’t get it. We finally got it with the bases juiced and full count. That was a huge play in the game and opened it up.”
Mahoy’s hit helped bounce the host Post 11 team out of the tournament and offered a second opportunity after a poor opening game Saturday for Post 72.
Kokomo Post 6, which awaits either Crawfordsville or Attica Post 52 in today’s 3 p.m. championship, waxed Post 72 11-3 Saturday morning and disposed of Attica 14-4 to reach the title game. Crawfordsville and Attica meet in the consolation round at noon.
Boone Welliever tossed a complete game, scattering 11 Lafayette hits in what was a disappointing end to Post 11’s season.
“He came out and he pitched a heck of a game. He went after every batter and he wasn’t scared,” Mahoy said of Welliever. “We came out flat (against Kokomo) and you could tell in this game we came out aggressive and wanting to compete and it showed every inning.”
Post 11 seemed to finally find its offensive rhythm late in a 9-6 victory over Lake Village Post 375 in the consolation bracket Saturday afternoon.
In that game, Brennen Argo singled in two runs with two outs and later Jake Fernung doubled in two more that gave Lafayette a 7-6 lead in the eighth inning. Henry Fisher’s two-run homer also provided an offensive spark in a comeback victory where Lafayette scored four runs in the final two innings.
Just a few hours later, that offensive flow was missing.
While Beaver tossed a magnificent game, only allowing five hits but plagued by Leo Lopez’s double and Mahoy’s backbreaking rope in the seventh, his team couldn’t push runners across the plate.
It wasn’t until the ninth inning when Central Catholic product Trystan Nice came off the bench to supply a one-out double that the bats seemed to heat up again.
Cole Fesler followed with a single and Alec Argo singled. Nice scored Post 11’s only run before bad luck struck when Beaver drilled what looked to be a ball sneaking between first and second base into the outfield hit Alec Argo in the leg, forcing him out to end the game.
“I think it is just demoralizing,” said Brennen Argo, who will continue his baseball career at Grace College. “We were hitting fine, but we couldn’t get those hits when it mattered. We finally strung a couple together at the end, but it was too late.”
Despite the early exit from the regional tournament, Post 11 seemed content with the progress made during a 16-10 season.
Evan Francis went 5-for-8 over the two games Saturday and Tristan Brown singled twice against Crawfordsville.
“You have to make the most of your opportunities,” Nice said. “I know what I can do, but it’s a team game and I wish we could have come out on top. It was great getting that double, but it would’ve been better coming out on top.”
Meanwhile, for Post 72, the journey continues.
“We were kind of down on ourselves after we got our butts handed to us by Kokomo, a good team that we’ve always competed with,” Mahoy said. “We came out here and beat a very good Lafayette team and now we have confidence and we are three games from going to state. That is very doable for us.”