The latter hasn’t come easily for the Rogers Post 153 American Legion baseball team recently.

“The bats have been struggling a little bi,” pitcher-third baseman Nate Pushard said. “We’ve struggled in situational hitting — trying to get guys in. We can get guys on pretty consistently, but getting them around to home plate is what counts.”

Saturday, Rogers Post produced those hits in a doubleheader sweep of Andy Valley. A 10-run inning broke open the first game in a 20-1 win, and Rogers used a seven-run inning to finish off Andy Valley in the second game, 12-7.

“This was good for all of us,” coach Troy Crane said. “We were putting the ball in play. We were hitting the holes and running the bases. It was good for us. We needed that boost.”

Pushard pitched a two-hitter in the first game. He struck out eight and never gave Andy Valley much opportunity after a Jonah Williams RBI double in the first.

“Sometimes you’re a little antsy and can’t locate as well,” said Pushard about the first. “That’s usually when I struggle, getting out of the gate. I just try to limit it and go from there.”

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Rogers Post (6-4) cranked out 13 hits to provide plenty of support. Pushard and Evan Raymond each had three hits and drove in four runs, while Brian Crane also plated four with two hits.

“Nate pitched so well in the first game that we were able to do some stuff,” Crane said. “We got everybody in and everybody played.”

Down 1-0 after Williams’ double in the first, Brian Crane answered with a three-run double in the bottom of the inning. Then Pushard and Brandon Knapp each had two-run singles in the second for a 7-1 lead. Raymond and Pushard each singled in runs in the third as Rogers build a 10-1 lead.

Then 10 runs in the fourth finished the job. Raymond drove in three runs with a pair of singles in the inning. Kyle Karkos had a two-run hit. Pushard, Alex Bruschwein and Brandon Varney each singled home a run.  Drew Lashua walked in a run, and Cam Cormier plated another when hit by a pitch.

The way Pushard was pitching, Andy Valley couldn’t match that kind of offensive output. The game ended in the fifth because of the 10-run rule.

“I didn’t have my best fastball today,” Pushard said. “So I was just spotting it. You always have to make sure you hit your spots and try to mix it up as much as possible.”

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In the second game, Andy Valley was able to hang close for much of the game. Brandon Varney pitched well for Rogers Post, but Williams kept the game within reach.

“Brandon threw very well,” Crane said. “The middle of their lineup is very tough. That’s a game-changer.”

Tyler Hutchinson had three hits while Mitchel Davis had a pair of hits and an RBI. Williams drove in two runs with a hit.

Tyler Blanchard led Rogers Post with three hits and two RBI. Crane drove in a pair with two hits. Corey Henderson drove in three with a hit.

Though Rogers Post built an early 5-0 lead, Andy Valley cut the deficit to within 5-3 after a solo home run by Tyler Vallee.

“We just couldn’t get the door all the way open,” Crane said.

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The lead was 2-0 after the first. Lashua walked in a run and Crane plated another with a fielder’s choice. In the third, an error on a Brushwein grounder scored two, and Blanchard singled in a run for the 5-0 lead.

Andy Valley got back-to-back RBI doubles from Williams and Davis in the fourth to get within 5-2. Then Vallee’s homer came in the fifth made it 5-3.

Rogers Post broke it open in the bottom of the inning with seven runs. Henderson had the big hit with a three-run double. Crane, Blanchard and Lashua all singled in runs. Pushard had a sacrifice fly as Rogers Post made it 12-3.

Crane had planned on replacing Varney in the sixth but an injury during warmups nixed that plan. It forced Brian Crane back to first and Varney returned to the mound.

“(Brian) made one throw and cringed and said he was done,” Crane said. “We wanted to change the look. The middle of their order was pretty up on Brandon. He threw very well, but we wanted to give them something different.”

Andy Valley got a sacrifice fly from Williams, an RBI single from Marshall Weiss and a fielder’s choice from Kaleb Banker. Brandon Knapp came on in the seventh to finish out the game. Andy Valley got one run when Hutchinson scored on a double steal.

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