MATTOON -- The Charleston Red Post 93 Senior Legion team didn’t put itself in a good position to start its game against Macomb 18U in the first game of the Eastern Illinois Showcase, which is held at Lake Land College and EIU’s Coaches Stadium.
Two errors in the first inning by Charleston Red led to three unearned runs for Macomb. Then an error in the second led to two more unearned runs for Macomb for a 5-0 lead.
Charleston Red couldn’t dig out of that hole as Macomb went on to win 12-2.
“We had the two errors the first inning and that shook us a bit and they scored three runs because of that. Second inning, same thing. They scored two runs and we could’ve got out of that with no runs scored,” Charleston Red coach Al Lord said. “First two innings kind of set the tone for the game.”
Charleston Red had its chances to cut into Macomb’s lead throughout the game. In the third, Charleston Red plated two runs and made it a three-run game. But that was the only inning Charleston Red got the hit they needed. In the fourth and sixth innings, Charleston Red left the bases loaded. In the first inning, they left a runner in scoring position.
“We are getting runners on. Had six batters to the plate in the sixth and couldn’t get a run across,” Lord said. “That hurts. Again, good teams are going to make the plays. If you are going to get the base hit, you have to earn them. If you are going to get the run, you have to earn them against a good team.”
The loss drops Charleston to 5-9-2 on the season, but Lord isn’t focused on wins and losses. Charleston Red is technically a Junior Legion team that’s playing a Senior Legion schedule to prepare the players for next season since Post 93 is hosting the Great Lakes Regional. So the coaches and organizers wanted this group to play older competition so they would be prepared for next season’s Great Lakes Regional, which Post 93 gets an automatic entry into.
“We told the boys, we’ve done this intentionally and trying to get you to be better ballplayers and you are not going to get to be better if you are always beating up on somebody and not learning anything from it,” Lord said. “We’ve learned a lot this summer, things the kids haven’t seen, not even at the high school season. A guy stole home on us the other night and we haven’t seen that. We are aware of it now. That’s where the learning is taking place.
“By the time we get into District play next week, there’s going to be anything that we haven’t seen. It’s tough because we all want to win. Just be patient because good things will come if they hang in there.”
Charleston Red plays a game at Coaches Stadium at 10 a.m. today (Friday) and then they return to Lake Land on Saturday for two games with the first starting at 10 a.m.
A few errors helped Macomb get out to an early lead. Back-to-back errors but two runners on with one out. Back-to-back singles scored two runs and a groundout scored a third as Macomb went up 3-0.
A hit batter and a single put two runners on for Macomb in the second inning. With two outs, an error allowed two runs to score as Macomb went up 5-0.
Charleston Red cut into the lead in the third inning. Jake Wilson led off with a single and was sacrificed to second. With two outs, Zach Finley singled to right field. Wilson slid in before the tag to score and Finley went to second. Keagan Brady followed with a line drive past third base that scored Finley to make it 5-2.
“We kind of regrouped and got something going offensively,” Lord said. “We were starting to battle back and had something going in the fourth with three runners on, but we couldn’t get a run across the plate.”
Macomb got a run back in the fourth inning. With two outs, a walk, a single and another walk loaded the bases. Then a bases loaded walk brought a run in to make it 6-2.
“Zach (Hill) was doing a good job on the mound, but had to take him out in the fifth and then that sixth inning got away from us,” Lord said. “They started to hang their head and we tell them not to do that, but it’s easier said than done.”
In the sixth, Macomb got a leadoff single and a walk to put two runners on. A double to left brought one run in. Macomb loaded the bases with no one out and a sacrifice fly brought in another run. A walk loaded the bases again and Macomb got a bases-clearing double to make it 11-2. Macomb loaded the bases with two outs and a single to left brought in the final run to make it 12-2.