Powhatan players Stone Talley and Josh Boelt were able to get back onto the baseball field in recent showcases – and thus get back into a baseball rhythm.
That much could be seen in their first game back with Post 201.
In a wild four-hour battle with visiting Post 361 on Thursday night, Boelt made a spectacular play when he ran down a flyball behind the third base line in foul territory and hit the ground in a tumble – with the ball clutched in his glove.
And then Talley was making clutch plays all over the place – literally.
Adjusting his play on the mound, the rising Powhatan High School senior shut the door on Post 361’s high-powered offense through the ninth inning. And then, when his team fell behind 13-11 in the 10th inning and was facing two outs, Talley went up to the plate with the mindset of putting the ball in play to bring home his teammates.
He put the ball in play. It got past the shortstop, and two runners came home, tying the game at 13-13.
From there, his teammate, Goochland High School alum Cole Bashinski, smashed the ball deep into right-center field to bring home the winning run and secure Post 201's wild walk-off triumph, 14-13, over Post 361 in 10 innings.
“When I got deep in the count, I just made sure I put a ball in play, put a good swing on it,” Bashinski said. “It feels great that this team never backs down. They have our backs, 24/7, no matter who’s pitching or hitting. Everybody’s with everybody.”
Post 201’s first week of summer baseball in 2020 featured seven hours and 47 total runs in just two games.
The hosting Seniors clawed their way back from an 8-1 deficit after three-and-a-half innings, out-producing Post 301 10-3 through the rest of regulation.
Talley was a huge part of why.
In addition to batting 3-for-4 with four RBI and reaching base in five of six plate appearances, the rising senior adjusted from giving up three runs in the top of the fifth inning to none through the next four frames. In the top of the ninth with two runners in scoring position, Talley sat down his last batter of the night on a called strikeout.
Talley said that at the beginning, he was “trying to do too much with it,” so he worked to slow down, throw strikes and let his defense do what “it needs to do.”
Both Talley and Boelt, who were on vacation, left the previous night at 2 a.m. and took a 13-hour trip to get back and play in Thursday’s game.
“That’s a testament to them on how bad they wanted to play baseball,” Post 201 coach Eric Mead said.
“It took a while to get down here, but I’m glad that I did,” Talley said. “Got the W.”
Mead also pointed to the efforts of the middle and bottom of the lineup, which helped tighten the game to one run across the fifth and sixth innings.
“They kept battling,” Mead said. “I’m very proud of them.”
Post 361 had stretched its lead to 11-5, but Powhatan’s Boelt, Andrew Cheatham, Trevor Waters and Connor Woodel clocked four straight hits to drive in three runs in the fifth, and then Talley and Boelt each brought in a run in the sixth – Talley on a walk and Boelt on a sacrifice fly.
That helped set up a memorable clutch hit from Post 201’s lead-off batter Alex Balisteri. Facing two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the James River High School alum and Walters State CC player rocketed the ball high, deep and over the right-field wall to tie the game at 11-11 and force extra innings.
Balisteri batted 4 for 6 with three RBI, a homer and two doubles, including one for two runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Post 361 would respond in the top of the 10th when Jesse Robinson and Zelgin Jackson each drove in a run on back-to-back base hits against Bashinski on the mound.
But when Bashinski came into the game as a pitcher, he also did so as a batter, setting up his walk-off base hit on the heels of Talley’s game-tying play.
Post 201 scored 12 of their 14 runs while facing two outs.
For Post 361, Luke Schwartz batted 3 for 5 with four RBI, two doubles, and three runs scored. Robinson batted 3 for 5 with four runs scored, a double and an RBI. Jackson batted 3 for 5 with three RBI and a run.