Michaud pitches Legion Post 21 past Post 53

FRONT ROYAL — Winchester Post 21 used a masterful performance from Ty Michaud to exact a little revenge on Front Royal Post 53 on Friday night.

Michaud allowed only two hits in almost seven innings en route to a 5-2 victory in American Legion action. Post 53 defeated Post 21 a few weeks ago in their only other meeting this season.

“I haven’t really been throwing a whole lot. I’m kind of giving my arm a little rest. I felt good out there. I was able to locate for the most part,” Michaud said. “All my pitches were pretty much on — my fastball, change, slider, curve — all of them were pretty much working.”

The Sherando graduate went 6 2/3 innings and struck out six.

Post 21 (7-3) took the lead in the first and didn’t look back. Post 53 starting pitcher John Reith struggled with his command early.

Post 21’s Alex Dobry drew a walk, Connor Stevenson singled and Jordan Turner drew a walk to load the bases with two outs. Brian Thomas then walked to take a 1-0 lead. A wild pitch scored another run for a 2-0 advantage.

In the top of the second Post 21 added to the lead. Zach Thompson led off with an infield single. With one out, Kacee Duggan reached base on a fielder’s choice in which Thompson was safe at second. Cohen Kerns drew a walk to load the bases and Dobry followed with a two-run single for a 4-0 edge.

Strasburg graduate Garrett Richards came on in relief of Reith and and walked Connor Stevenson. An attempted force at home plate wasn’t in time on a ball hit by Turner to give Post 21 a 5-0 lead.

“I was extremely happy to put those five runs on the board those first two innings,” Post 21 manager Anthony Hargrave said. “That set us up to have a good night.”

Richards threw 5 1/3 innings and struck out 11 for Post 53. He allowed only two hits, before giving way to Skyline rising senior Ryan Abel with two outs in the seventh.

“[Richards] pitched super well, he threw around 95 pitches,” Post 53 manager Rick Almarode said. “Then Ryan Abel came in and he pitched pretty well, too. We’ve just got to hit.”

That was the biggest problem for Post 53, as they struggled to get hits with runners on. They stranded 12, including leaving the bases loaded in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

In the bottom of the sixth, Joseph Rutherford drew a one-out walk and Gavin Kandrick was hit by a pitch. Eric Baker reached on an error to load the bases, but a force out at home and a strikeout ended the inning.

“That was great because they could have really put it close there,” Michaud said. “A little base hit could have put them within two, three runs and who knows what happens from there.”

in the bottom of the seventh, Post 53’s Robert Presley singled with one out. With two outs, Rhett Tierney drew a walk to end Michaud’s night on the mound.

Post 21 reliever Dobry gave up an infield single by Rutherford, but retired Kandrick on a groundout to end the inning.

Post 53 (7-6) scored two runs in the eighth. After an Eric Baker single, Abel reached on an error and a Sterling Jennings walked to load the bases with no outs. Dobry helped himself with two strikeouts before another walk and a hit batsmen scored two runs. Dobry got another strikeout to end the inning.

“My kids don’t give up, but I think we’re lacking a little heart,” Almarode said, “a little bit of that extra drive when the times are crucial. You’ve got to have better plate appearances. We’ve got to pitch better.”

It was Post 21’s first game in a week, and Michaud said he likes where the team is at right now.

“We’re heading down the right path,” Michaud said. “If we keep hitting the ball, we’ll have success. We have the pitching to do it.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com