Post 166 needs pair of wins Saturday to take league title
Goose Creek Post 166's weekend trip to Myrtle Beach for the Palmetto Invitational was impacted by rain but not before the club got in a pair of games.
Post 166, aiming to sharpen up for the postseason, split those two, defeating Conway 17-7 on Friday and losing to Tuscaloosa, Ala. 10-3 on Saturday.
Post 166 takes a 15-7 record (11-4 League 1) into the regular season finale on Saturday, July 6 at Beaufort before starting the playoffs with a best-of-5 series on Monday, July 8. If they win the first game against Beaufort, they'll meet Hilton Head for the league championship later Saturday.
It's the biggest day of the season for Post 166.
Goose Creek can finish anywhere from first to third in League 1. The first two seeds open the playoffs at home.
“If anything, I kind of want to low key it a little bit and keep them loose and relaxed,” Post 166 coach Dave Holt said. “Hopefully, they'll be ramped up enough for it. If you get too ramped up in baseball, though, it's not always a good thing. We'll try to play our best game and see what happens.”
The top seed from League I is up in the air between Post 166, Beaufort and Hilton Head. Each team has four losses in league play heading into the final week of the regular season.
“It could come down to a tiebreaker,” Holt said.
Moncks Corner is locked in as the fourth seed from League 1 and will play the League 1 winner in the opening playoff series.
Post 166 has six players batting over .300 this summer, led by Cody Smith (.383). Chris Zurcher (.343), Austin Timm (.339), Tyler Rio (.329), Zack Wimmer (.306) and Cody Maw (.304) are also over. 300.
Wimmer leads in homers (5), runs (14) and RBIs (16). Smith has a team-high 10 doubles.
Zach Lavery has a .417 batting average but with only 12 plate appearances he's not qualified for the team batting title.
Post 166's victory in the Myrtle Beach tournament came by mercy rule in five innings.
Wimmer led the offensive assault with a pair of three-run home runs. Timm was among four other Post 166 hitters with at least two hits, including a two-run home run in the first inning.
Christian Sillanpaa, Smith and Zurcher had two hits apiece too. Both of Smith's were doubles.
Maw got the win in relief of Zurcher, tossing the third and fourth innings. Maw gave up two hits and two earned runs, striking out two and walking one.
Zurcher gave up five hits and three earned runs in his two innings. He fanned three batters and walked one.
Rio threw a scoreless fifth inning, giving up a hit and striking out one.
After Timm's two-run homer in the first inning, Sillanpaa had a two-run single in the second inning to make the score 4-0.
Wimmer's first three-run homer highlighted a 9-run third inning for Post 166. His other home run came in the top of the fifth inning.
The game on Saturday was against Alabama's defending state champion and one of the Southeast's better programs. Tuscaloosa Post 34 has won eight state titles since 2003.
Post 34 jumped out to a 5-0 lead against Post 166 starter Wimmer before Timm's three-run homer in the third inning provided the only offense for Post 166.
Tuscaloosa added single runs off Wimmer in the fourth and fifth innings to go up 7-3. Wimmer gave up six hits, struck out seven batters and walked three over five innings.
Tuscaloosa finished out the scoring off reliever Maw in the seventh inning, plating three runs, including two on a home run. Maw surrendered six hits and struck out two.
Post 166 had 10 hits against Post 34's Cody Mills. Mills struck out five batters and walked none over seven innings.
Smith had three hits and a double, while Wimmer had two hits and a double.