Charleston Post 166 tripped up out of the starting gate this summer but bounced back with a pair of narrow victories to complete the opening week of the American Legion season.
Post 166 got six-plus innings from southpaw Robbie Fleming and Blake Marrs belted a three-run home run in an 8-6 victory over visiting Manning-Santee on Thursday, May 30 at Cane Bay High School.
Post 166 clipped Orangeburg 2-1 on Wednesday, May 29 after falling 6-4 at Hampton on Monday, May 27.
“Robbie is going to battle,” Post 166 coach David Horton said. “This is the third summer Robbie has been out here with us. You know he’s going to give you everything he’s got.”
Fleming retired the first two batters of the seventh but the next two reached and Horton gave it to reliever Dalton Godin to finish it.
Godin got behind 2-0 but evened the count and coaxed a line drive to left fielder Jackson Price to earn the save.
“Robbie said I’ve got one more in me but I said I’ve got a freshman over there who is chomping at the bit,” Horton said.
It was the second save in as many nights for Godin, who primarily pitched on the junior varsity level for Cane Bay in the spring. Against Orangeburg, he recorded the final two outs on nine pitches with the tying run at third and go-ahead runner at second.
Post 166 jumped on Manning-Santee in the bottom of the first with four runs. Kris Blanco led off with a double and came home on a RBI single by Noah Panezich to start the scoring.
Panezich scored on a passed ball to make it 2-0 and Will McGuire and Price added RBI singles.
Manning-Santee struck for three runs in the top of the second to close the gap to 4-3.
Marrs was there in the bottom of the second to give Post 166 another comfortable lead. Charleston loaded the bases and Blanco scored on a passed ball to make it 5-3.
Marrs fought off a number of pitches before depositing one over the fence in left that one-hopped a car.
“He was behind in the count and battled back,” Horton said. “He did a good job staying alive. He fouled off some good pitches. We talked about it in batting practice. The longer you extend the at-bat the better chance you have. Eventually one of those guys is going to make a mistake. He did and Blake made him pay for it. That was huge.”
Marrs and Panezich had two hits each while Travis Lott reached twice on walks.
Post 166 was missing starting outfielders DJ Matthews and Caleb Singleton, who were playing in Goose Creek High School’s spring football game, and infielder/pitcher John Shelton.
Last summer, Post 166 won the League 1 crown and advanced to the second round of the playoffs, finishing 17-6.
Last year’s league crown was the fifth since 2011 for Post 166.
Horton liked his team’s chances to produce a solid showing on the diamond if everything comes together.
In the win over Orangeburg on Wednesday, Post 166 starter Josh Davis threw 6.1 innings to earn the win.
Singleton and Will McGuire scored runs in the third inning and that was enough run support for Davis and Godin. Marrs led with two hits.