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Post 80 sweeps Ozark

A slow start turned out to be enough.

It took a while to get going, but once the members of American Legion Post 80 baseball team starting to hit the ball they managed to record wins in two five-inning games against Ozark on Thursday.

In the first game, Post 80 recorded a 1-0 win behind a strong pitching performance by Zack Chavers. He pitched a shutout allowing just four hits and no walks. He hit one batter and struck out five.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fifth inning when Post 80 scored the only run of the game for a 1-0 win.

The Ozark pitcher had the Post 80 batters missing early. He threw three innings of no-hit baseball.

Post 80's first hit came in the bottom of the fourth inning when Brad Sanders reached on a single into center field. Sanders, however, was retired when he was thrown out trying to steal second.

Ozark got out of the inning without giving up a run as Post 80 stranded Cole Sightler on third base and Michael Eldridge (as a courtesy runner for catcher Chaz Maloy) on second.

Ozark threatened in the top of the fifth, but Chavers got out of a jam thanks to a running catch by second baseman Trevor Mathews in shallow right field. Ozark left runners on first and third in the inning.

Post 80 won the game in the bottom of the fifth when speedy Scotty McCraney scored on a sacrifice bunt by Mathews with one out in the inning.

McCraney reached on a bunt single, moved to second on a stolen base and then went to third on a wild pitch.

In the second game, Post 80 Head Coach Steve Helms used four pitchers en route to a 4-2 win.

Post 80 jumped on top 3-0 in the bottom of the first inning and added an insurance run in the bottom of the fourth, after Ozark scored two runs in the top of the fourth.

Mathews started the first-inning rally when he led-off the game and was hit by a pitch. Chavers followed him with a single to where the second baseman would have been standing if the hit-and-run was not on.

Neal Patterson came up later in the inning with one out and delivered an RBI-single to plate Mathews. Maloy followed with a sacrifice bunt to plate Chavers.

The third run of the inning went up on the scoreboard when Patterson scored on an RBI-bunt single by Matthew Mitchell.

Ozark scored two runs in the fourth when Jared Williams and James Carr rounded the bases.

Post 80 added one run in the bottom of the fourth when Chase Glisson reached on a walk and McCraney came in as a pinch runner. McCraney used his speed to advance to second on a wild pitch and then stole third. He scored on another wild pitch.

Justin Bracewell threw two innings of no-hit baseball for Post 80. Chris Johnson pitched one inning without giving up a hit. Tra Curry pitched one inning and gave up two runs (both unearned) on one hit. Brad Sanders pitched one inning of no-hit baseball.

The Post 80 squad travels to Hartford today to begin play in a tournament. Post 80 is slated to play at 3 p.m. today and three games on Saturday.