CHILLICOTHE — This year, in the 11th annual Jim Jadwin Memorial Tournament, the Post 757 Colts had their work cut out for them early on.
Competing alongside the Central Ohio Knights 457, Circleville 134, Hillsboro 129, and Portsmouth 23, the Colts hoped to win the tournament for the first time in program history.
However, they first had to test their mettle against Hillsboro 129 and the Central Ohio Knights 457 on Friday night.
Taking on Hillsboro first, Post 757 endured a defensive battle through the game's first seven innings before runs began to come easily for them in extra innings, leading to their 11-8 win.
To get to that point though, the team had to rally from a three-run hole as they entered the sixth inning.
Luckily for them, Dave Magill came in clutch with a two-RBI double to make it a 3-2 game.
They tied it in the following inning after a groundout by Jacob Lenox provided Garrett Payton enough time to reach home plate.
Hillsboro nearly spoiled the Colts' comeback efforts early after a two-out triple by Brad Miller put the latter onto their heels.
However, they kept their composure and retired the side after one final popout.
Now, the next obstacle for the Post 757 to overcome was the tournament's unique rules for extra innings play.
Rather than having a conventional inning and deciding the winner based on who is able to score enough runs to outdo the opposition, the tournament takes a more expedited approach.
They used 'Texas Shootout' rules, where the visiting team puts the player that made the last out in the previous inning on second base. All new batters start with three balls and two strikes.
Though neither team managed to take advantage of the new circumstances in the eighth inning, both began to look more comfortable in the ninth.
Post 757 scored four runs, which included an RBI single by Payton and a two-RBI single by Will Dratwa.
Getting his biggest hit of the night in a crucial moment, Dratwa said that the new rules played to his benefit.
"There was so much more pressure on the pitcher to make a good pitch," Dratwa said. "If the ball is not in the zone, then I am going to go to first base. So, I knew that he was going to throw me one in the zone and I was ready to come out firing."
Hillsboro 129 scored four runs of their own to keep their hopes alive.
However, the tenth inning proved to be their swan song after Post 757 was able to replicate their previous quartet of runs, but Hillsboro was only able to score one.
With such an invigorating win, Coach Seth Wright said that the team was able to rally because they have gotten better with their communication over the course of the season.
"The kids are starting to come together a lot better and form friendships in the dugout," Wright said. "With that, it has helped the team to share more information with one another at the plate and ultimately know what the pitcher is throwing, which led to more base hits."
Post 757's next test was to defeat the Central Ohio Knights 457, which they passed with flying colors after outlasting the competition, 8-7 (six innings).
This time around, the Colts came out swinging, scoring two runs in the first inning after another RBI single by Dratwa and a run scored by Isaac Smith which tied the game.
The Colts took the lead in the top of the third inning, when an RBI by Payton brought Jacob Lenox home.
Unfortunately for them, the Knights were due for big hits of their own and looked to take control of the game in the following innings.
First, it was a two-RBI single by Ben Dodge. They notched another run shortly thereafter with an RBI single from Alex Lacheta.
Chillicothe's hole grew in the fifth inning when the Knights scored two more runs.
Familiar with overcoming a deficit, Post 757 pitcher, Dave Magill said that he trusted his team to get hits when it mattered the most.
"Baseball is such a mental game," Magill said. "Some of us got big hits in the first game and we were able to carry that over to this game too. So, once you start hitting well, you can start seeing the ball better and squaring up on it better."
Magill's confidence proved founded as his team climbed out of their 7-3 hole to take an improbable lead.
Four of their first five batters were walked. The lone exception was Lenox who hit an RBI single.
He eventually made his way home after taking advantage of a wild pitch by the Knights.
Karson Runk helped the team to take the lead with a two-RBI double, which wound up being the last run of the game.
Because of their hard-fought victories, Post 757 should earn a high seed, but it will not be official until tomorrow morning's games between Hillsboro vs. Circleville (9 a.m.) and Portsmouth vs. Central Ohio (11:30 a.m.).
Hoping that his team can use their momentum to have more success tomorrow night, Coach Wright said that it would all come down to his team keeping their eyes on the priz
"There are a lot of good teams in this tournament," Wright said. "If we take them for granted, we are going to go home with a loss. So, we have to stay focused and come into games mentally prepared to play baseball. I think we are more than capable of doing that.
This article originally appeared on Chillicothe Gazette: Post 757 gets two wins on Friday to start the Jim Jadwin Tournament