Rantoul couldn’t build off 3-2 game-one victory

Adam Crites pitches for Post 287 in game one of the district tournament last Wednesday against Shelby County. 

Rantoul — The up’s and down’s of the Post 287 American Legion baseball season finished on a down. After opening the district tournament with a 3-2 win over Shelby County, a 12-2 loss to Danville and a 6-3 loss Charleston sent Rantoul home. 

Adam Crites led Post 287 over Shelby County in game one, going the complete game giving up five hits and two runs, neither of which were earned. 

Rantoul got all three of its runs in the first inning and held on for the rest of the game. 

Head Coach Garry Smith was pleased with how the game went “We played well, jumped out to a nice lead and Crites pitched well.  It was a very good American Legion baseball game,” Smith said. 

Miklo Strader led off the game reaching on an error. Strader advanced to third on a passed ball and wild pitch respectively. Hayden Cargo then got Post 287 on the board with an RBI single driving in Strader. Luke Jones doubled home Cargo. Joe Welbes got Jones in with an RBI ground out. 

Crites had to put the team on his back after the top of the first. 

Shelby County got on board via a passed ball in the bottom of the second. 

The scoring was put on standstill until the bottom of the seventh when Shelby County put the pressure on Rantoul.

A dreaded lead-off walk came around to score on an error and a single. Runners were on first and second with two out when Crites was able to induce a game-ending ground ball to Nate Garard who flipped the ball to Joe Welbes to end the game. 

Game two didn’t start nearly as smooth for post 287 against Danville. 

After a 1-2-3 top of the first for Rantoul, Danville got two runs.

Post 287 loaded the bases in the bottom of the second inning but couldn’t scratch a run across when Lane Harden popped out to shortstop to end the inning. 

After holding Danville in the bottom of the second, Rantoul got on the board in the top of the third. 

Strader led off the inning getting hit by a pitch. A Brendan Yocius ground out moved Strader to second. Strader came around to score on an error by the Danville catcher.

Danville got the run back and more in its half of the third inning via an RBI double and an error by Rantoul short stop Welbes.

The scoring was halted until Welbes redeemed himself with an RBI single that brought in Crites to make the score 4-2. 

Danville rattled off eight straight runs to end the game in just six innings. 

“The wheels just fell off, we made some errors, and we couldn’t get a key hit,” Smith said.

Jake Schlueter started the game on the bump for post 287 going 4 1/3 innings giving up eight runs five of which were earned. Jed Chow came in relief, going 1 1/3 innings giving up four runs, two of which were earned.

Game three started similar to game two for Post 287.

Charleston started the scoring in the top of the first on an RBI double before scoring again in the second on another RBI double. 

Charleston got on the board again in the third on a steal of home. 

Post 287 got back in the game in the bottom of the fourth on a passed ball and a sacrifice bunt. 

Crites tied the game in the bottom of the sixth when he drove in Joe Welbes with an RBI single. 

The game and season fell apart for Post 287 in the top of the seventh when Charleston got three runs across on two Rantoul errors. 

Post 287 couldn’t get anything going in the bottom of the seventh. 

“In the playoffs you go to be able to pitch with out walking people, make routine plays and get key hits, and we just couldn’t do that,” Smith said. 

Welbes started the game on the bump for Post 287 going four innings giving up three runs on four hits. 

Chad Vermillion pitched the final three innings of the game, giving up three runs, none of which were earned. 

Although it didn’t end the way he had hoped Smith was still pleased with the season. 

“Overall it was a successful season,” Smith said.

Post 287 ended the season with a 13-11 record.

Contact Ryan Birch at Rbirch@rantoulpress.com or on twitter @RyanBirchrp