COLUMBIA — Striking out 12 times and leaving 11 baserunners stranded Tuesday against Columbia Northeast, Orangeburg Post 4 struggled to find its offense following an 8-day weather-related layoff.
Zach Massengale’s pitching arm was a different story. For the second time this season, the Barnwell righthander had another complete game performance in lifting Post 4 to a 3-2 victory at Polo Road Park.
“It took me a little while to get used to the mound,” said Massengale, who allowed just five hits and fanned 10 batters. “Their mound was kind of flat. Whenever I got my full footing, I got into a good grove. I felt comfortable and starting clicking.”
“I mean, what can I say about Massengale?” Orangeburg head coach Frank Leysath said. “Two games, he went the whole nine innings. I couldn’t ask for any better for what he did. He did great.”
Massengale’s effort was vital for Orangeburg, who managed just six hits off the Columbia Northeast tandem of righthander Johnny Killman and lefthander Allen Burnside. Post 4 especially struggled against Burnside as he allowed no hits and fanned 10 of the 11 batters faced Tuesday.
Burnside did walk three batters, including one to Aaron Crandell, in the top of the eighth, which resulted in the game-winning run. The Orangeburg Prep senior stole second and third base, the latter resulting in an errant throw by Columbia Northeast catcher Ben Hearing into the outfield, which allowed him to safely race home.
The two parties played a role in the game’s final play. As Crandell attempted to field a two-out fly ball in center field by Hearing, he lost track of the baseball and it fell to the ground.
Crandell quickly fielded the ball as managed to relay a throw in time to third base to tag out a hustling Hearing to end the game.
Columbia Northeast (2-2) took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second. A leadoff single by Hearing was followed by an RBI triple from Burnside and run-scoring hit by Clint Collins.
Post 4 capitalized off a pair of fielding errors to get a run in the top of the third. Catcher Dakota Way scored from third base after shortstop Tyler Baker’s throw to first base after fielding a groundball by Evan Graves.
Post had its best offensive showing in the fourth with three consecutive hits, which led to the game-tying run.
While Massengale kept Columbia Northeast off the scoreboard, Orangeburg continued to struggle with runners in scoring position. It became more difficult when Burnside replaced Killman on the mound with one out in the sixth and he proceeded to hold Post 4 hitless.
“I had confidence in my teammates,” Massengale said. “Whenever it’s hard times, we pull through.”
Crandell’s base-stealing efforts was the only effective ploy against Columbia Northeast and now Orangeburg (4-0) has a two-day respite before starting a six-day, six-game stretch at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mirmow Field against Irmo-Chapin Post 193.
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