John Ehret-based First NBC started Wednesday’s American Legion game with a slim lead, but Shaw-based Refuel eventually won 7-1 in seven innings at Winterscheidt Field.
“We started off a little slow offensively,” said Refuel coach Kirk Bullinger said. “But then we started swinging the bats. ... That kind of got the ball rolling.”
First NBC got its initial run in the first inning when Warren Garrett crossed the plate on a hit by Jacob Snyder.
In the second inning, Refuel started to come to life, tying the score when Josh Pantoja singled to bring in Kyle Flettrich, then taking the lead when Nick Carbo scored on an error.
Refuel (7-1-1) added another run in the third when Jace Nini scored on Carbo’s fielder’s choice for a 3-1 lead.
Keith Meyer started for Refuel and was relieved D.J. Alexander. Meyer had four strikeouts and one walk. He gave up one unearned run on 55 pitches.
Alexander was followed by Brandon Guillot and Nini. Bullinger said Meyer is slated to start a game Monday, while Nini is expected to start one Saturday.
First NBC started Snyder, who allowed five hits in four innings, struck out two and threw two walks. He was relieved by Chad Clement.
Refuel added to its lead in the fourth when Pantoja singled and reached second. That enabled Scott Ledet to score for a 4-1 lead. Pantoja later tagged up from third on Guillot’s flyout and escaped the tag of First NBC catcher Terrell Thorton for the 5-1 lead.
“Then we started playing some good situational baseball,” Bullinger said. “Really, all we were hoping (Pantoja) would do was get the runner over and he got him over and in on one swing. Brandon Guillot comes up with a big (sacrifice) fly to right field. We make a great slide at the plate to beat the play.”
Nini scored in the fifth on a throwing error. Keller followed for a 7-1 lead.
Pantoja led Refuel, going 2-for-2 with one run scored and two RBI. Keller went 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Nini went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
“I just focused on moving guys over,” Pantoja said. “That’s pretty much it. That’s what I’ve been doing all summer.”
Refuel plays the Curtis Patriots on Thursday.
“We’re still growing. We’re still trying to get better,” First NBC coach Kenny Francingues said. “We’re still pretty young. We played Shaw a tough game a couple of weeks ago and tied them at three. I thought our guys played a decent game. Give Shaw credit for getting men on base and getting hits with the men on base.
“It’s been hard for us because we haven’t been at 100 percent yet with all of our pitchers here.
“Hopefully, when the tournament comes around, we’re at 100 percent and we’ll be a little more competitive.”