Nine is enough for Post 166
Goose Creek Post 166 showed up with just the bare minimum but that was more than enough in the biggest game of the season.
With the winner earning the last spot in the state tournament, Post 166 came out swinging en route to a 14-1 win over Beaufort Post 9 on Sunday. The game was shortened to seven innings.
Only nine players made the trip for Post 166 and manager Dave Holt was in Maryland visiting his newborn grandchild. Six players missed the game for various reasons. Still Goose Creek was up to the task.
“Before the game I asked our players “why should we win this game?,” Post 166 assistant coach Bob Timm said. “I got a lot of great answers and summed it up by saying ‘no matter what you do in life, do it to the best of your ability just for the sake of giving your best.’”
Zach Lavery was dominant from the bump, tossing all seven innings. He fanned 10 batters and scattered four hits. He walked two batters.
He got all the run support he needed in Post 166’s first at-bat.
Goose Creek scored four runs in the top of the first and then erupted for eight runs in the fourth inning to take a comfortable 12-0 lead. Timm said he was expecting a tougher game from Beaufort, which was coming off a very competitive five-game series against. defending state champion Florence
“I really thought we were in for a battle,” he said. “We had split during the season (2-2) and they’re a well-coached ball club... I felt they were peaking at the right time.”
Instead, it was all Post 166.
Christian Sillanpaa and Cody Smith had three hits apiece for Post 166 and all nine Goose Creek players had at least one hit. All of Sillanpaa’s hits were doubles and Smith added one double and two RBIs.
Austin Timm had two hits, including an RBI triple, and Tyler Rio collected two hits and drove in three runs. Davon Higgins and Cody Jones each had a double and two RBIs.
Lavery, Cody Maw and Dalton Lash had one hit apiece.
Thomas Smith, who had beaten Florence twice earlier in the week, was the losing pitcher for Beaufort. Post 166 chased him in the fourth inning and Austin Willis-Green finished it out.
Green also knocked in Beaufort’s lone run in the fifth inning.
The state tournament is set for July 26-31 at Sumter’s Riley Park. Post 166 (21-10) will meet Upper State No. 1 seed Inman (19-2).
The other five teams locked in are Sumter (No. 1 Lower State), Murrells Inlet (No. 2 Lower State), Florence (No. 3 Lower State, Greenville (No. 2 Upper State), Irmo-Chapin (No. 3 Upper State).
Greenwood and Orangeburg were still battling for the last Upper State seed at press time.
Post 166 is no stranger to seeing some success at state. Two years ago, the squad was fifth and last year it placed third.
Timm said he expected at least half of the group that missed the Beaufort game to be back with the team when it competes at state.