Behind Colton Allison’s pitching and a few timely hits, Hickory Post 48 evened its playoff series with Shelby Post 82 on Thursday.
Allison allowed just four Shelby hits in a 4-0 victory for Hickory in game two of the two team’s series at Henkel-Alley Field.
“It was an incredible night,” said Post 48 coach Fore Rembert. “Colton Allison’s pitching has been flawless in the playoffs. He hasn’t given up any runs. There is a pitch or two he’d like to get back or a walk or two, but this is an imperfect game. You can’t be perfect. What you’ve got to do is strive to be consistent. That is what he has been doing.”
The game two shutout by Allison was his second-straight in the playoffs.
Allison also blanked Gaston in game two of Hickory’s second round series last week with a three-hit performance.
The Hickory offense was without shortstop Davis Hanvey, who was at his college orientation.
Hanvey’s absense forced Rembert to move Colton Chapman to from third base to shortstop and Zach Jarrett from first base to third. He also inserted Greg Lucas into first base.
Both teams struggled at the plate early on until Hickory (21-9) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning.
With the bases loaded, Jackson Gilliam was hit by a pitch from Shelby’s Nick Hastings.
“Any time you see a curve ball coming at you, it is a free single,” Gilliam said. “You just take it with the bases loaded and get a free single out of it.”
Two innings later, Hickory struck again with three runs, including a single by pinch hitter Matt Johnson.
“I was just coming in and trying to do my job,” Johnson said. “I was really late at first, but adjusted and came through for everybody. I’m happy I could help.”
Meanwhile, the Shelby bats struggled.
Allison allowed just four base knocks, including two off of the bat of Hastings.
“It sounds like a broken record, but I just try to do what coach says,” Allison said of the key to his success in the playoffs. “Every game I’ve had to pitch in so far has been a huge one. I just know I have to go out there, perform and pitch how I am supposed to pitch. I just keep doing it.”
The series between the two teams is now tied at one game apiece.
Rembert said that Tyler Pait will pitch in game three for Post 48, which will take place today at 7 p.m. at Veterans Field at Keeter Stadium in Shelby.
Game four is set for Saturday at Henkel-Alley Field at the American Legion Fairgrounds at 7 p.m.
Allison said he and his teammates need to have a certain approach for the rest of their series against Shelby.
“We just need to have a bulldog mentality on the mound and at the plate,” Allison said. “We just need to do what we are supposed to do in every situation we are put in. If we do that, we’ll win.”