Americus Travelers 16U Baseball Club goes 3-1 at Post 70 Invitational at Troy University
Published 3:50 pm Tuesday, June 14, 2016
By MICHAEL MURRAY
TROY, Al. – The Americus Travelers 16U baseball club saw a great deal of excitement this past weekend at the Post 70 Invitational at Troy University in Troy. Al.
The local team headed west on June 4 to kick off their participation in the tournament with a morning match against Post 34 Tuscaloosa 17U, dealing an 8-0 shutout to their foes in the contest. The Travelers soon returned to the diamond to give Post 34 a chance to even the score. They continued their sweep of their adversaries in the second half of the double-header, dealing Post 34 a 5-0 defeat.
The Travelers’ luck took a turn for the worse the following morning, as the team returned to action to battle Troy Post 70 17U, who dished out a 13-6 defeat to the Americus team.
The Travelers ended on a high note, however, as they took on Middlebrook Post 133 17U for their final tilt of the tourney, earning a comfortable 9-1 win.
The Travelers’ first test of the tournament, against Post 34 Tuscaloosa 17U, got off to an uncharacteristically slow start, with the Travelers gaining a slight lead (two runs) in the initial three frames. The Travelers’ bats exploded, however, in the sixth inning when the team sparked a six-run rally, leaving their opponents in the dust and wrapping up the game early.
Will Kelley, of Bainbridge, and Jarrett Kemp, of Albany, set the pace for the winning team with two hits apiece. Kelley contributed three RBIs to the win while Kemp brought in two runners. Camron Vanlerberghe, of Ellaville, followed with one RBI.
Tyler Ross, of Lee County, pitched a complete game for the Travelers, striking out one opponent. In total, the Travelers collected 10 hits in the contest while holding their opponents to only five.
The Travelers soon geared up for the second half of the day’s double-header against Post 34 Tuscaloosa 17U.
The Americus crew got off to a strong start, plating their first runner in the first stanza. The Travelers added two more in the fourth inning and capped off the game’s scoring with another pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth, all the while keeping their opponents off the scoreboard to take another shutout win, this time by a margin of 5-0.
Kelley, again, set the pace for the Travelers, connecting on two hits in the match and bringing in one RBI. Will Lang, of Lee County, and Reid Ragsdale, of Ellaville, each contributed RBIs to the victory as well.
Kelley went the distance for the Travelers on the mound, pitching all seven innings and striking out eight batters in an impressive performance.
The Travelers out-hit Post 34 6-4 in the contest.
The following morning, the Travelers saw their winning streak brought to a halt in their third match of the tourney against Troy Post 70 17U.
The host team came out swinging when the action commenced, platting three runners in the top of the first stanza. In the bottom of the frame, the Travelers brought in one run.
Troy Post 70 17U sparked rallies in the tops of the fourth and sixth frames, each of which netted the host team five more runs. The Travelers staged their comeback in the bottom of the fourth, but were held to only four runs, followed by one more in the following inning to leave the final score 13-6.
Gavin Paul, of Lee County, tossed the first 3.1 innings before ceding the mound to Chance Holloman, of Ellaville, who wrapped up the match. Paul managed four strike-outs during his time on the hill.
Now fired up and determined to turn their fate around, the Travelers hit the field for their final test of the tournament against Millbrook Post 133 17U later that afternoon.
The Americus crew saw their fortune improve in this match as they pulled ahead early and rode their momentum to a 9-1 victory.
The Travelers opened the game with a bang, bringing in three runners in the first inning, followed by another trio of runners in the third. The team added another point in the following stanza and continued to pull ahead with two more in the bottom of the fifth to cinch the walk-off victory.
Lang and Paul each collected two hits in the Travelers’ victory while Kelley, Kemp, and Will Lanneau, of Crisp County, each connected on one. Lang contributed three RBIs to the win, followed by Lanneau and Kemp with one apiece.
Blake Howell, of Ellaville, did work on the mound throughout five innings for the Travelers, striking out six opponents.
On June 9–10, the team participated in the Parkview Shoot-out in Gwinnett County. This is a 120-team tournament that is heavily scouted by college coaches and professional clubs. The results of these matches were not available at press time.
Over the last weekend in June, the team will travel to Cumming for the Triple Crown Summer Blowout, featuring 16 of the top teams in the Southeast. On July 9–10 the Americus crew return home for a Saturday-Sunday double-header as part of the Travelers Weekend Challenge.