MADISON — Madison couldn’t come up with any timely hits on Monday against South China Subway. Not one.

Strangely enough, it didn’t hurt a bit.

In the decisive fifth inning, the Post 39ers had three walks and a hit batsman, all with the bases loaded. Those four runs were enough for Madison to take a bizarre 4-3 decision in the American Legion baseball Zone 2 season opener for both teams.

“That was definitely odd,” Madison coach Peter Kirby said. “They helped us out a little bit there, but hey, they played strong, and so did we. They’re obviously one of the better teams in the league. Just to win that first one, it kind of makes some of the younger kids feel like they belong.”

Cody Moody pitched a complete game for Madison, giving up 11 hits — 10 of them singles — with one walk and four strikeouts. Moody threw 109 pitches, and Madison right fielder Brandon Lehay threw a runner out at the plate in the second inning.

South China Subway, which is made up of primarily Erskine players, got its offense going despite the absence of Ryan Pulver (college orientation). In the fourth, Shyler Scates singled on a 3-1 pitch. Jory Humphrey then doubled him home on a 2-0 pitch. With two down, Keith Cloutier worked the count to 3-1 and singled to center field to bring Humphrey home and make the score 2-0.

Subway added another run in the fifth when Humphrey singled home Donald Camp and, as Madison came to bat in the bottom of the fifth, Subway pitcher Tom Grady had a 3-0 lead and was working on a no-hitter.

No. 9 hitter Ben Salley singled for Madison’s first hit and Lehay drew a walk. Trevor Hisler singled, loading the bases with two out.

That’s when things got weird. Kameron Nelson walked on four pitches to force in a run. Isaac Wacome fouled off two 3-2 pitches and drew another RBI walk. Kaleb Brown was hit by a pitch and the game was tied at 3-3. Dylan Botbyl relieved Grady and walked Chase Nelson to make it 4-3 before Botbyl struck out the next batter to end the inning.

The control lapse was completely out of character for Grady. Subway coach Mark St. Amand blamed himself for leaving Grady in too long.

“I could have made that change with Tommy earlier,” St. Amand said. “But that guy usually throws strikes all the time, so we just gave him the chance. I’ve never seen him throw that many balls. It probably could have been time to change him, and I probably should have.”

Cloutier singled to lead off the Subway sixth, and that made eight hits off Moody over the last 13 batters. But Moody felt the long inning gave him a second wind and he got out of the jam.

“It was so hot out, so that long break helped,” Moody said.

Kirby showed a lot of faith in Moody again in the seventh when Subway put runners on first and second with one out and Humphrey — who was 3 for 3 at that point — coming up. Humphrey hit a bouncer to the right side that hit Scates in the basepath for an automatic out, and Moody got the next batter on a grounder for the final out.

“Cody was staying in no matter what,” Kirby said. “He’s our horse.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243
[email protected]

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