RANTOUL — The Rantoul Post 287 Senior American Legion baseball team bounced back after losing a doubleheader to Shelby County on Sunday with a 5-1 win last Tuesday against Mattoon Post 88.
Post 287 was led by Adam Crites and Chad Vermillion, who combined for six (three each) hits. Overall the team had 11 hits.
“We were well-rested,” team manager Garry Smith said. “We knew we were going to have a tough game. We were on all cylinders.”
Post 287 got on the board first in the bottom of the second by loading the bases after three straight singles. A sacrifice fly ball hit by Jake Welbes scored Crites, to give his team the lead 1-0.
In the third inning, Post 287 added another run. Crites and Vermillion singled to put runners on first and second with two outs. Crites scored after Brendan Yocius hit a ground ball and reached first on an error by second baseman Derek Owens.
“We took the curveball to right field they way you should,” Smith said. “Crites hit the ball really well on Tuesday. He’s especially the one who hit the curveball to right field. We just hit the ball and played the game very well.”
Luke Jones contributed for Post 287, hitting an RBI single in the fourth to put his team up 3-0.
Miklo Strader got an RBI after a sacrifice bunt in the fifth. In that same inning, Vermillion scored on a passed ball to score the fifth run for Post 287.
Matton Post 88 put up its only run in the seventh with an RBI double made Caleb Slater.
Nate Garard got the start on the mound for Post 287. Garard pitched four innings in which he allowed only three hits, no runs and struck out five. Layne Harden pitched the remaining three and allowed five hits, one run and struck out three.
“They [Garard and Harden] hadn’t pitched in about three weeks,” Smith said. “I thought they pitched very well. They had very good command. They hit the strike zone very well.”
Garard said he was content with how his team played after the performance on Sunday.
“As bad as we were on Sunday, we were very good on Tuesday,” Smith said. “It was a good game on our part. We played the game the way it is supposed to be. Mattoon is one of the top teams in our division.”