ALTON - Post 126 hosted their final home game of the 2023 summer schedule on Wednesday night, taking on Southwestern’s summer ball team. It took an extra inning, but Southwestern found the offense late for an 8-4 victory.

It was a bullpen game of sorts for Post 126, trying to keep arms fresh for their tournament action in Washington, Missouri this weekend. Only two pitchers, Ashton Schepers and Logan Bogard, pitched more than a single inning for Alton on Wednesday night

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It was the complete opposite on the other side, as Adam Hale threw seven strong innings for the summer Piasa Birds. Hale, who will be a senior at Southwestern next year, gave up five hits and three earned runs, but fanned eleven Post 126 batters.

“(Adam) Hale’s been hurt, and this was his first game,” said Southwestern head coach Brian Hanslow. “He’s one of our top pitchers in high school, tonight he did a really good job.”

Both teams plated two runs in the opening inning. Ike Austin drove in two with a single for Southwestern, to give Adam Hale an early lead to work with, one which Alton quickly erased.

Logan Bogard and Caden Laslie both hit triples in the first for Alton, Bogard drove home Marquette’s Hayden Garner, and Laslie drove in Bogard for the second and tying run.

An RBI single for Hunter Newell in the second put Southwestern back in front, only for some sharp baserunning from Alton to answer right back in the third, as Hayden Garner scored his second run on a passed ball.

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The middle of the game saw pitchers settle in, especially Adam Hale, who seemed to enter a zone in the fourth and fifth. Hale struck out five batters in a row in these innings, and only seemed to be getting better the more he threw after missing time with an injury.

Both teams allowed a runner on with a walk that later scored in the fifth, which knotted the score at 4-4 heading to the business end of the ballgame.

The game became a tense and tight affair late. Both offenses were held in the sixth and seventh, innings which sent the ballgame into extras. Well, at least one extra.

Logan Bogard, pitching in relief in the bullpen game for Post 126, got out on the first batter he saw in the eighth but gave up a single and a walk which loaded the bases. Like Major League Baseball, American Legion baseball has instituted a runner on second base to start extra innings, the single and the walk pushed that runner to third base.

Up stepped Logan Keith, who lined a shot into the left field gap to drive home all three runners, and gave Southwestern their biggest lead of the ballgame right when it mattered most. Keith would score on a wild pitch, giving Southwestern a four-run 8th-inning lead, one they would not relinquish.

The 8-4 victory for Brian Hanslow’s team primarily gives him hope for what the Piasa Birds can accomplish next spring.

“It’s good to have a bit of competition here, get the adrenaline flowing,” said Brian Hanslow after his team’s win. “A lot of game situations here are going to help us next spring. Summer ball is just spring training for next year, hopefully, it’s going to pay off.”

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