The Randolph County Post 45 baseball team wasted little time flexing its muscle at the American Legion World Series in Shelby on Thursday, erupting for five runs in the top of the first and cruising to a 6-3 victory against Hopewell, N.J.
Playing the fourth and final game of the tournament’s opening day, the state team got off to a quick start when left fielder Dalton Hammer led off with a double and shortstop Dawson Painter followed with a single. Catcher Cam Morrison then drove both home with a double before scoring himself on an RBI single from second baseman Peyton Williams.
Third baseman Parker Clayton also drove in a run while another scored on an error to complete the first inning rally.
The top three hitters in the Randolph County lineup — Hammer, Painter and Morrison — combined to go 7 for 15 with three runs and three RBI. Painter drove in his team’s final run with a double in the fourth.
The beneficiary of the early offensive outburst was starting pitcher Ryan Hill, who allowed only two runs on nine hits while striking out five over the first seven innings. Relievers Nate Ray and Cam Reid finished up the victory, which was played before a large contingent of Randolph County fans despite the fact that their team was designated as the visitor.
With the victory, Post 45 (39-8) advances to a winner’s bracket matchup against Lewiston, Idaho at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The game will be televised live on ESPNU.