Adamczyk’s slam leads Post 34 to win

Tuscaloosa Post 34’s Alec Adamczyk is congratulated by coach Patrick Jones after Adamczyk hit a grand slam against Shelbyville, Ky., Post 37 on Friday in the Southeast Regional in Sumter, S.C. Adamczyk pushed Post 34 to a 5-3 lead. Post 34 won, 13-4 in the elimination game. (Photo by Photo | Dennis Brunson, The Item (Sumter, S.C.))

SUMTER, S.C. | The slumbering bats of Alabama state champion Tuscaloosa Post 34 woke up in a big way when Alec Adamczyk banged a grand slam off the top of the left field wall in the top of the sixth inning, launching Post 34 to a 13-4 win over Shelbyville, Ky., Post 37 in an elimination game in the American Legion Southeast Regional at Riley Park on Friday.

Post 34 (46-10) will face the loser of the South Carolina state champion Florence Post 1 and Virginia state champion Lynchburg Post 10 loser today at 9 a.m. Shelbyville finishes the year with a 19-13 record.

Adamczyk’s big blast came with Post 34 trailing 3-1 and in the midst of a sluggish morning at the plate. It had produced only a pair of singles off of Kentucky starter Zachary Wiley entering the inning. That quickly changed after Adamczyk’s slam. Post 34 added eight runs and eight hits over the final three innings off of four Kentucky pitchers.

"That was obviously huge," Post 34 coach Patrick Jones said of Adamczyk’s home run. "You could just feel our team exhale after that and just relax and play baseball and stop pressing so much. We needed a big clutch hit, and after that, the rest of the guys started thinking they can do it too."

Adamczyk came to the plate knowing his team needed a lift.

"I was just trying to get our team some momentum in that spot," he said. "I wasn’t trying thinking I had to hit a grand slam, but I felt like if I could get a hit in that spot it would be big."

Kentucky grabbed the game’s first lead in the bottom of the third when Tyler Tipton led off with a double and scored when Jordan Bailey followed with a base hit. After Alabama starter Morgan Turner struck out Brandon Roberts to get the first out, Logan Bailey reached on an infield error to put runners on the corners. Wiley then launched a triple off of the leftfield wall to score both Bailey brothers and put Post 37 ahead 3-0.

With his team still ahead 3-0, the top of the sixth got off to a harmless start for Wiley, who retired leadoff batter Slayton Thompson on a lazy fly ball to center. But Wiley issued a walk to Joshua Winingham, and the trouble began.

Wiley walked Austin Dickerson, which brought Landon Andrews to the plate. Andrews dumped a single into shallow left field that scored Winningham to pull Post 34 to within 3-1.

Wiley looked like he might get out of the inning when he got the second out on Austin Alexander’s groundout to short, but he loaded the bases by walking Cameron Sanders. That brought Adamczyk up to the plate.

"They had been pitching me inside all game, and I got a fastball which was in a little," Adamczyk said. "I didn’t know it went out, and I didn’t know it hit off the top of the wall. I was just running the bases hard because I knew I had hit it pretty good."

Kentucky head coach Jim Wiley agreed Adamczyk’s homer changed the course of the game.

"That was devastating," Jim Wiley said. "When you have a lead like that and all of a sudden you find yourself behind, you have to find a way to fight back."

Wiley’s squad fought back in the bottom of the sixth when Tipton singled home Zachary Wiley with two out. Alabama added five more runs in the top of the seventh to make it 10-4. Andrews had a two-run base hit to key the inning and Adamczyk added an RBI single. Andrews’ base hit in the eighth, his fourth of the game, scored a run to make it 11-4. Post 34 added another pair in the top of the ninth to go on top 13-4.

"All we can do from this is learn from it, get better, and try to get back here next year," Jim Wiley said.

Lost in Adamczyk’s grand slam and Post 34’s offensive explosion was a solid effort on the mound by Turner, who kept his team within striking distance by limiting Post 37 to four runs, two of which were earned, over his seven innings of work.

"I told him (Turner) in the fourth inning that if he could just keep them where they were, we would eventually get some runs for him," Jones said. "Fortunately, the guys didn’t make a liar out of me.

"We finally showed people the type of baseball we are capable of playing," he added. "It would have been a shame if we would have had to leave this tournament without doing that."