POWHATAN - Last Tuesday against Post 137, Colby Cheatham said he felt good about his pitching, but he wanted to see some hits come off his bat.
One week later, the Powhatan High School alumnus and rising sophomore at Mary Baldwin saw one of those hits land on the other side of the left field fence.
His Post 201 team cheered from the home dugout, then headed to home plate, which Cheatham - and three of his teammates - ran across after he had toasted the ball on his first-inning, one-out grand slam.
"I think he's been looking for that at-bat since he's gotten back and started playing," Post 201 head coach Eric Mead said. "I thought he settled in good tonight and swung it good."
His incendiary rocket of a hit gave Post 201 its fifth home run in as many games. It was also enough to keep his Seniors ahead of Post 137 before a barrage of lightning and thunder prompted the officials to call the game shortly before a torrential downpour swept the fields and parking lots at Powhatan High School.
Post 201 won the game 6-3. It was one out shy of five full innings, although Post 201, the leading team, was the home team and therefore batting in the bottom of the fifth when the game was called.
The Seniors put together their best opening inning of the summer thus far, holding the other team scoreless in the first frame for the first time and piling on six runs: one from Christian Chambers running home on a wild pitch, one from Trevor Waters walking in Brandon Eike and four off of Cheatham's slam. Post 201 in the first inning had four walks and four hits. Eike batted 2 for 3.
"Certainly in that first inning, the bats were certainly alive," Mead said, adding: "That's where we were kind of struggling in the first four games, is that we didn't jump early, and a lot of those games, we've had to come back from a deficit and fight back, giving up two runs and scoring one and then trying to pick at it the entire game.
"We've been talking about that a lot, that we need to come out in that first inning and score some runs, which - I thought they did a good job," Mead said. "We made some good adjustments. We swung at strikes and left balls alone that weren't in the strike zone and took the walks, and I thought that first inning was a very good change for us."
In his rematch with Post 137, starting pitcher Tommy Preston got the win, allowing two hits, two walks and one earned run while striking out five in three innings pitched with an appearance against two batters in the fourth.
"I thought Tommy did a really good job on the mound, came out and threw the ball well for us," Mead said.
Post 201 pitchers Preston, Cheatham and Goochland's Billy Thackston combined to allow three hits and three earned runs.
"I'm very proud of the way they played tonight," Mead said, "and I thought defensively they looked really good."
Post 137 loaded the bases in the top of the fifth inning after Jalen Hines' sacrifice fly and Caleb Cranor's RBI single tightened the lead. But Josh Boelt fielded a hard-hit infield grounder from short and flipped the ball to his Powhatan High School teammate and second baseman Stone Talley, who then rifled the throw to James Nelson who completed the 6-4-3 double play with the catch at first base to end the half-inning.
Post 201 catcher and Powhatan High School Class of 2019 graduate Trevor Waters, who just accepted an offer from Georgetown College in Kentucky, caught a runner stealing when he zipped the throw from home to his teammate Eike at third, securing the first three-up, three-down opening inning for the Seniors this summer.
Rising Powhatan senior Connor Woodel, who joined teammates Nelson, Cheatham and Boelt in batting 1 for 2, added a couple big throws from third base for 5-3 plays. Woodel's first at-bat also saw him launch a line drive into the right field gap.
"I thought he came out today and made some adjustments in his swing and did a very good job with that pitch in that first inning," Mead said.
Andrew Cheatham snatched up Hines' hard hit in right field to hold Post 137 to a sacrifice fly on Hines' at-bat in the fifth. Nelson from first base ran down a popup in foul territory right next to the fence in the fourth.
Weather permitting, Post 201 will host Post 39 on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Powhatan High School.
Post 201 will also host the Home Run Derby on Saturday, followed by the All-Star Game on Sunday. Both events will take place at 7 p.m. at Powhatan High School.
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