After a pair of mammoth doubles — one by each team in the seventh inning — sent the game to extra innings, it was a sacrifice fly that ended up doing the trick for Gaithersburg Post 295 on Monday.
In the second meeting this season between Gaithersburg's American Legion teams, a sacrifice fly to center field off the bat of Cam Brow put his team ahead, and Quoc Tran promptly followed with a two-run single to add insurance in Post 295's 12-9 victory in nine innings.
“I like what we're seeing,” said Post 295 coach Steve Cononie. “The guys never gave up. They kept battling back. Make the other team throw strikes and put the ball in play. That's really huge at this level.”
In a game that included its fair share of errors and hard-hit balls, the extra innings at Kelley Park were fairly clean.
“You can't make errors and win baseball games, it's as simple as that,” Post 104 coach Joe Stolz said. “We played them twice and both games were competitive, so I don't think they're better than we are.”
In the top of the seventh, Post 295 took a 9-8 lead thanks to a long double to left field by Steven D'Amato. The ball curled inside the left-field foul line and allowed Chris Heckhaus to score.
Tran took the mound for Post 295 to begin the seventh and recorded two outs with a runner on first base before Trey Martinez launched a bomb that the left fielder was unable to catch, despite a fully-extended dive. Tran recorded the final out with Martinez at third to send the game to the eighth.
After Post 104 took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, the rival Gaithersburg club hung a five-spot on Post 104 in the second. Post 104 answered with five in the bottom of the third, leading Cononie to lift starting pitcher Tony Cianci in favor of Tran.
Tran pitched well, allowing two runs in four innings before giving way to Heckhaus, who got the win, Post 295's second against Post 104 this year.
The remainder of the week could be difficult for Post 295, which plays every day and is missing some of its seniors because of Beach Week.
“It's a rough week for us because it's Beach Week,” Cononie said. “I'm trying to patchwork the team together to try and get some wins under our belt. But overall I think we'll be deep in pitching and hitting. We have a lot of guys who can hit. I think the team's going to be solid.”
Gaithersburg Post 295 12, Gaithersburg Post 104 9 (9 innings)
Gaithersburg Post 295 (2-1) 050 210 103 — 12
Gaithersburg Post 104 (2-3) 205 100 100 — 9
WP: Chris Heckhaus. LP: Max Heldman