The Titans of William A. Doyle Post 236 in Calvert City go into District 1 American Legion senior baseball tournament play today at Lee S. Jones Park in Eddyville.
Despite a 6-21 overall record and an 0-2 mark against their first-round opponent, Paducah Post 31, the team has three wins in district competition – and the second loss to Paducah, by a 4-3 score on July 10, was a winnable game.
The team enters post-season play on the strength of a 9-2 win over Mayfield Post 26 Thursday. The Titans are 3-8 in district play with two wins over Mayfield and one over Lyon County.
“We’re very competitive,” coach Billy Hodge said. “We’ve been strong in that when we’ve gotten a second or third look at a team, we’ve done well. I’m very encouraged.”
Hodge, who started the program 15 years ago, returned to the coaching position this year with the intention of rebuilding the program to a higher level.
“I knew coming in this was going to be a long and slow process,” he said. “We’ve got an awful lot to hang our hats on.”
The team is coming together, and in the final week of regular-season play added Devin Chambliss, a Marshall County High School graduate who has been sidelined all summer with a knee injury, to the roster.
Six victories are not that impressive, not even in comparison to recent years when the team struggled to win more than one or two games. But the attitude, effort and execution are much improved, Hodge said.
Now, he believes the team is ready to take a big step. The top two teams qualify to advance to the state tournament July 30-Aug. 4 at Campbellsville.
Qualifying is not an unrealistic goal, Hodge says.
“That’s the thing,” he said. “It’s not a matter of winning the [district] tournament. It’s a matter of qualifying. Can we qualify? Yes, we can qualify.”
The No. 1 and No. 4 seeds in the tourney open action at 5 p.m. Mayfield plays the host Aces of Lyon County Post 68 at 8.
Today’s losers meet at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the consolation bracket, with the winners playing a 8 p.m.
The survivor of the consolation bracket meets the upper bracket semifinal winner at 5 p.m. Thursday and the winner moves on to the championship game at 8 p.m. If the consolation bracket winner prevails, a second game will be played at 6 p.m. Friday.
Mayfield 18, Titans 1
The season-ending double-header Thursday at Graves County High School did not start well. Post 26 erased a 1-0 Titans lead with three runs in the bottom of the first inning and six more in the next two frame. They put the game into early-conclusion mode with nine runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Aaron Armstrong was 3-for-3 for the Titans in the losing cause. Tanner Foster was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
The Titans scored when Cody Gilbert had a lead-off double and came home on Foster’s one-out single to right.
Mayfield’s 17-hit attack was highlighted by a grand slam home run by Colton Aldridge in the nine-run fourth inning.
Calvert City 100 00 – 1 7 2
Mayfield 324 9x – 18 15 0
Gilbert (L, 2-2), Orr 2, Alderson 4; Hayden (W)
Titans 9, Mayfield 2
In the second game, Calvert City again took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, only to see Mayfield pull ahead with two runs in the bottom of the inning. But those would be all for the Post 26 squad, which got only three base hits of Post 236 starter Shubert Moffatt.
The Titans, meanwhile, regained the lead with two runs in the top of the third and then pulled away.
Cody Gilbert once again drew first blood for Calvert City, drawing a walk and scoring on a single by Aaron Armstrong.
Then, after Mayfield went up 2-1, Gilbert led off the third with a single and stole second. With one out, Tanner Foster singled to drive in Gilbert and tie the game. After Aaron Armstrong drew a walk, Devin Chambliss singled down the left field line to score Foster and put Post 236 in front for good.
Chambliss was 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Foster and Bryce Orr were each 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Moffatt went four innings, striking out five and walking one to improve to 3-2. Kalen Parker pitched three hitless innings in relief
Calvert City 102 230 1 – 9 11 1
Mayfield 200 000 0 – 2 3 3
Moffatt (W, 3-2), Parker (5); Hannan (L), Hicks 4, Sheer 5, Frommeyer 5, Carrico 7