Smith Post earned its first District V American Legion baseball win of the season in its home debut at DeLutis Field Thursday night, a 6-3 win against Camden’s Moran Post, the team that beat them 6-2 Wednesday.
Rome-based Smith Post got contributions on offense from all over, including a 4-for-4 night from Derek Holmes, who plays high school ball at Camden. “I like playing against them,” Holmes said of Moran. “Fun competition since I know everybody.” Of his four-hit, two-RBI performance, he said it was even more rewarding “against my high school team. Gets the confidence up. Hope to carry it through the season.”
Moran got a run in the top of the first when Nick Balcom singled in Eric Mitchell. But Balcom was later thrown out at the plate when Tanner Young doubled to centerfield. Centerfielder Evan DeLutis threw to shortstop Riley Brawdy who relayed to catcher Kyle Willamson to just barely nab Balcom at home to end the inning.
Smith tied the game in the bottom half. Brawdy doubled to lead off and scored on Holmes’ first of four singles. The Rome team took a 2-1 lead in the second. Holmes again singled in Brawdy, who had walked with two outs.
Each team scored in the third, with Moran tying the game 2-2 and Smith taking a 3-2 lead. For Moran, Balcom singled off new pitcher Damon Campanaro and scored on a single by Young. Young was caught in a run down between third and home to end the inning after Justin Critelli singled. Smith took the lead back again in the bottom half. Jake Premo was hit by a pitch. After DeLutis singled and Jack Lawless was also hit by a pitch, Brawdy singled in Premo.
Moran tied the game again in the fourth. Kohl Ingalls singled and later scored on a double by Mitchell. Smith then went to Brawdy in relief and he retired the next two batters to end the threat.
Again Smith scored one run to take a one-run lead, this time at 4-3. With Elijah Ciani now pitching for Moran, Holmes singled to lead off. Williamson singled with one out and Premo was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game. Then DeLutis lifted a sacrifice fly to the outfield to score Holmes.
Smith tacked on two runs in the fifth to extend the lead to 6-3. Brawdy tripled to lead off, Campanaro singled him in and then came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Williamson.
Brawdy, who earned the win on the mound, shut down the Moran offense. He went the final 3 2/3 innings, allowing no runs and striking out five. He gave up two hits.
“They battled,” Smith head coach Ryan Hickey said of his team. “Very proud of Elijah Marrero,” the team’s starting pitcher, who went two innings and allowed an earned run on four hits and a walk. The team, he said, will likely use multiple pitchers frequently this summer because of a schedule with so many games in such a short amount of time. The team’s 14 games will take place over the course of 25 days. He also noted that the team’s starting pitchers all play important roles at other positions so he doesn’t want them to miss too many innings at their non-pitching positions.
Smith, said Hickey, is “a scrappy baseball team. We’ve got the potential to hit and score runs.” Once the players settle into their defense assignments, he said, they will “settle down.”
Smith plays next on Monday at 6 p.m. against Whitestown in Rome at DeLutis Field. Moran is at New Hartford Monday at 6 p.m.