August 9 - Avery Neaves continues to come up clutch as Vienna Post 180 has continued its unbeaten playoff run by winning its first two games at the American Legion Mid-Atlantic Regional in Asheboro, N.C.
Neaves, a graduate of South Lakes entering his sophomore year at St. Johns River State College in Florida, broke a fifth-inning tie with a three-run double in Post 180’s 6-2 win last night over Randolph County (N.C.) Post 45. His bases-clearing blast off the left-center field wall at McCrary Park came a day after the catcher hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly and later scored the winning run in an 8-7 win over Brooklawn (N.J.) Post 72.
Neaves is 4-for-5 with three doubles and seven RBI over the two games at the double-elimination tournament and is hitting .452 with nine homers and 40 RBI in 25 games. He’s hit a post-record 18 doubles.
Vienna (34-2) has won 14 straight and will play Morgantown (W.V.) Post 2 (35-8) tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Last night, Braden Huebsch (South Lakes) earned the decision after striking out seven and walking one in 6.1 innings. The right-hander, who went the distance in Saturday’s state championship game in Lynchburg, scattered nine hits and twice worked out of bases-loaded jams. On both occasions, he retired UNC Wilmington recruit Trevor Marsh to end the threat.
The game was played in front of an estimated crowd of 500, most on hand to cheer for the tournament’s hosts. Randolph County (33-10) has advanced to the World Series the past two years.
“Randolph County is no joke as a host team,” Vienna manager Nick Good said. “They are a very good team.”
Justin Taylor (Flint Hill), who had missed over two weeks while recovering from a shoulder injury, rejoined the team yesterday and came on in relief with one out in the seventh. After Randolph County loaded the bases, Taylor struck out the final two batters. The rising Cornell sophomore was also 1-for-3.
In Wednesday’s win, Zach Perkins (Madison) pitched the final 3.2 innings to earn the decision. He got an assist from his defense when third baseman L.A. Rice (Flint Hill), with the tying run at second base, made a diving stop of a hard ground ball and threw out the base runner to end the game.
Perkins’ relief outing came after Brooklawn reached reliever Chris Blake (Madison) for three runs (two earned) to tie the game at 6-6 in the fourth. Rice started and allowed three runs (two earned) in three innings. Perkins and Virginia Military Institute recruit Ryan Dooley (South Lakes) each had three hits to pace Post 180’s 12-hit attack.
Notes: Good wasn’t sure who would start tonight’s game, but said it was likely multiple pitchers would be used out of the bullpen. Left-hander Seth Richards (Oakton), who will pitch at Villanova next spring, will get the ball tomorrow … Vienna is without first baseman and left-hander Josh Gjormand (Madison), who is on a family vacation but would return should the team advance to next week’s World Series … In today’s elimination games, Brooklawn plays Wilmington (N.C.) Post 10 at 12 p.m. and Randolph County plays Canal (DE) Post 25 at 4:30 p.m. Hamburg (N.Y.) Post 527 and Funkstown (MD) Post 211 have been eliminated.
Photo of Avery Neaves by Jane Davis