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Grissom delivers for the win

South Boston News
Kelonte Gutrich is tagged out at the plate in the third inning during Monday’s baseball game between South Boston Post 8 Junior Legion team and Big Island. / June 20, 2013
Colby Grissom delivered a two-out RBI single in the eighth inning Monday night, lifting the local Post 8 American Junior Legion baseball team to a 6-5 win over Big Island.

It was a key district win, coming against the same team that denied Post 8 a district tournament title a year ago. Grissom’s walk-off game-winning hit settled a tense showdown that went eight innings.

Last night’s game with Eden was rained out.

South Boston Post 8 used three pitchers - Kashawn Hillard, Tanner Bennett and Trip Bennett, who ultimately got the win. Post 8 collected seven hits, with Jacob McKinney and Jake Hughes - who scored the winning run - collecting two hits apiece. Grissom went one-for-five, battling back from two strikeouts to provide the critical RBI of the night.

Post 8 moved out to an early 4-0 lead in the third, sparked by RBI singles from Will Harris and McKinney.

Harris lofted an RBI sacrifice fly in the fourth to make this a 5-0 ballgame. Big Island refused to wilt, however, scoring once in its half of the sixth and adding four runs on five hits in its half of the seventh. That forced a 5-5 tie.

Post 8 had missed an opportunity in its half of the sixth, stranding three runners. The locals stranded ten runners overall.

Big Island got a two-out single in the top of the eighth, but the runner was stranded.

Then, Post 8 moved to a higher level in the bottom of the eigth.

With one out, Hughes, batting leadoff, stroked a double to complete his two-for-four night. Tyler Howerton drew an intentional pass. The second out of the inning came on a fielder’s choice after Matt Ratliff batted, although Ratliff was able to advance the runners to second and third, avoiding a force play. Michael Watts was walked intentionally, loading the bases. Watts, who has power, drew five walks in the game.

Grissom made Big Island pay with a well-placed RBI flare to right, settling the game.

“I was in a tough situation. I was a little nervous, but I got it to pull it on through,” said Grissom, who sliced a fastball, outside. “It was a good enough hit to score the winning run.”

Grissom knew the Big Island pitcher had to throw to him, after he got behind in the count.

“It was real exciting ... to come out and get the win for our team,” said Grissom.

Grissom, a left-handed pitcher with decent velocity, got pulled up from the Comet jayvees to give the varsity club a lift at the end of the season.

Now, he’s getting a taste of good competition in Legion ball.

“It’s been a good year, coming up from jayvee to varsity, and coming out and playing for them ... It felt good to come out tonight and get the win tonight for our (Post 8) team,” said Grissom.

Grissom was ready to deliver when Watts got the intentional pass, one of two in the inning.

“It’s a big risk, putting two guys on,” said Grissom.

Legion head coach Jody Nelson deflected criticism of Big Island for two intentional passes, given the situation. “I guess it’s kind of smart baseball, getting a force at any bag (in that situation). I understand that,” said Nelson.

Grissom came through in the clutch.

“Colby had just missed it all night, had hit a bunch of balls hard, second base, first base. He was right on top of it. He was due ... last week, he hit the ball real hard, just couldn’t get anything cooking,” said Nelson.

Three Legion pitchers worked the game. Hillard got a no-decision, with two strikeouts, seven walks, two hits and a scoreless ledger. Tanner Bennett worked an inning and a third and was charged with four hits and five runs, with two walks and one strikeout. Tripp Bennett got the win with one and two-thirds innings, with three strikeouts, three hits and no runs allowed.

Nelson was not upset with the relief work. “They found some holes ... it’s not like they hit it hard.

“They (Big Island) just battled,” said Nelson.

“They took us out in the championship last year. We wanted this one,” said Nelson, who said the district is wide open.

This was a quality win against a team that’s given South Boston some trouble in recent seasons.

Post 8 is now 2-1, after taking its district opener.

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