Legion baseball team posts 4-0 start to season against Peabody, Hesston

The American Legion Post 366 summer baseball season began with back-to-back routs of Peabody and Hesston, leaving the Hillsboro squad 4-0 after its first week.

Coach Tim Hein?s team smashed Peabody 11-1 behind Isaac Leihy?s nine-strikeout complete game in the opener last Wednesday, then battered Peabody 15-0 in the second contest of the doubleheader behind a five-inning no-hitter by Tyler Ediger.

Post 366 continued its rampage Thursday with an unmitigated rout of Hesston: 24-0 and 17-1.

But even with the prodigious offense, Hein has been most pleased with the consistency of his team?s defense.

?All our pitchers have to do is throw strikes,? he said. ?We have three shortstops in the field.?

Mainstays Daniel Jost and Calvin Jeffrey are familiar to fans of the Hillsboro and Marion high school varsities. Brian Palermo of Chase County may not be.

?Palermo will be a solid middle infielder and utility outfielder for us,? Hein said. Indeed, through four games, Palermo has already started games at second base, third base, shortstop and center field.

Two more players from Chase County will factor heavily into the Post 366 lineup: Cole Starkey, who has started twice in center, once at short and once on the mound; and Kyle Hannigan, who has more than held the fort at first base.

Starkey and Palermo have keyed the offense, batting second and third in the order behind Jeffrey, who has led off each game.

Hannigan has been slotted in the six-hole?and the Chase County threesome have scored 25 of the team?s 67 runs in the first four games.

Hesston?Cole Starkey booked 15 outs and faced only four more than the minimum number of batters as Post 366 claimed its first road win, 24-0.

Calvin Jeffrey reached on an error leading off the first and Brian Palermo bashed an RBI triple that opened the floodgates.

Palermo scored on a single by Travis Riesen, who stole second and scored on a double by Kyle Hannigan, who scored on a single by Jake Liles.

Post 366 added three more runs in the second. Jeffrey singled and Palermo reached on errors. Both scored on a single by Daniel Jost, who swiped second and scored on Riesen?s base hit.

When Wil Case walked and scored in the third, Post 366 led by eight. Hesston gave up five straight singles on the way to allowing 12 more runs to score in the fourth.

Jost picked up four RBI during the meltdown and finished the game with five. Jost also scored twice in the fourth, as did Starkey and Palermo.

Palermo and Jeffrey each scored four runs in the first game.

The second game started slower but ended up being more of the same, as Jake Liles tossed a two-hit complete game.

Travis Riesen scored the initial run in the second inning and Post 366 scored five more in the top of the third.

Jeffrey and Starkey singled back-to-back and Palermo doubled to left field. Then Jost singled and Riesen was hit by a pitch. A base-clearing double by Hannigan to center pushed the score to 6-0.

Hillsboro made it 10-0 in the top of the fifth, but Hesston extended the game with back-to-back doubles in the bottom half.

Post 366 scored seven more times in the top of the sixth.

Peabody?With former teammate Travis Riesen behind the plate, Isaac Leihy navigated the Peabody lineup with relative ease.

Allowing a two-out walk to Chris Cage and an RBI single by Joel Barker, Post 366 trailed by a run heading into the bottom half of the first. But Riesen ended the inning by throwing out Barker, who tried to advance to second on the throw home.

Leihy struck out five of the next seven and the offense erupted to stake him to an 8-1 advantage.

His counterpart, Cage, walked five Post 366 hitters in his 12⁄3 innings, and the Peabody defense committed four errors in the field behind him.

Calvin Jeffrey, Brian Palermo and Riesen each scored twice in the first two innings, and Jacob Edwards and Cole Starkey each scored once.

Barker relieved Cage and cruised into the seventh, striking out nine of the first 14 he faced.

Starkey restarted the Hills?boro offense with a one-out double and Palermo followed with an RBI triple. Riesen worked a full-count walk and scored along with Palermo to give Hillsboro an 11-1 lead during Kyle Hanni?gan?s plate appearance.

Tyler Ediger allowed only six base runners during the second game?five by way of walks, one by way of error.

Sharp defense wiped out two of the walks, as the middle infield of Jeffrey and Palermo turned a pair of 4-6-3 double plays.

Post 366 scored 15 runs on 14 hits, as Peabody?s defense leaked extra bases.

Jeffrey doubled twice, and Ediger, Riesen and Devin Funk each hit one. Palermo and Wil Case each hammered out a triple.

Jeffrey, Palermo, Case and Funk each scored twice, and the game ended on 10-run rule after five innings.

Coming?Legion Post 366 was scheduled to play two seven-inning games against Wilson at the Tabor College diamond Tuesday night and face Peabody for a doubleheader slated for 6 p.m. Thursday at Tabor.

Post 366 looks to keep a full slate in coming weeks, with the following set of 6 p.m. doubleheaders: at Herington June 9, at Abilene June 12, vs. Abilene June 17, at Salina June 25, vs. Buhler July 1 and vs. Herington July 3.

Post 366 also has a 2 p.m. doubleheader June 15 at Mound?ridge and a three-day tourna?ment in Hillsboro June 27-29. The district tournament will begin July 8.

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