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Tough weekend for American Legion juniors

The West Alabama American Legion juniors baseball team entered last weekend with five games on the schedule, and high hopes of leaving it with a five-game winning streak. Four cancellations, one key injury, and one 14-7 thumping later, things don’t look quite as rosy for Post 29 juniors coach Jonathan Lynsey.

“It’s frustrating,” he says.

The five games were scheduled to be a double-header Saturday against South Tuscaloosa Blue and Lamar; a Sunday double-header against West Blocton; and a Monday afternoon game against Homewood. But Lamar failed to show for their Saturday games, canceling that game and extending the South Tuscaloosa-West Alabama game to nine innings.

During that game West Alabama slugger Brett Bonner suffered a back injury. With Post 29 already playing with only a nine-man roster, Bonner toughed out the South Tuscaloosa game to avoid a forfeit. But Bonner was unable to go on Sunday and without a ninth player, Lynsey had no choice but to cancel the double-header versus West Blocton. He says Bonner, who hails from Toxey and attends Patrician Academy, is the sort of player who would only back out of his commitment if the injury was serious.

“If Brett says he’s hurt,” Lynsey says, “he’s hurt.”

Then Monday, a miscommunication concerning the starting time of the game against Homewood–Homewood officials believed that game began at 6 p.m. at the SportPlex, while Post 29 had the game scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday afternoon–led to that game’s cancellation.

The scheduling problems mean the Post 29 team will have to wait until Tuesday’s round-robin double-header to wash the taste of Saturday’s loss out of their mouth. Post 29 had taken a 6-4 lead into the top of the seventh when South Tuscaloosa capitalized on an uncharacteristic series of Post 29 mistakes to score six runs and take control of the game.

“We kind of fell apart out there,” Lynsey said.

To their credit, West Alabama kept their head up at the plate, loading the bases in each of their next two at-bats. But aside from a run-scoring Randy Martin single, in the eighth Post 29 failed to take advantage of their opportunity and finished the game with only one run over the final five innings after scoring six in the first four. The eighth finished especially frustratingly, as a sharply hit liner was unluckily struck directly at the South Tuscaloosa first baseman, who easily tagged baserunner Patrick Castleman coming off first for an inning-ending double-play.

Post 29 was led at the plate by Chase Felts, who went 3-4 with a run scored; Martin, 3-4 with an RBI; Phillip Farmer, 3-4 with a run scored; and Castleman, who finished 3-5. the loss drops Post 29 to 6-4 on the season.

The Post 29 juniors will be in action (this time with a ten-man roster, Lynsey says) Tuesday night at the SportPlex, playing a round-robin twin bill with Lamar and Bibb County. Games start at 4 p.m., 6 p.m., and 8 p.m.