LINDEN-To say that Bryon Cox Post 72 won a back-and-forth affair Tuesday wouldn't be fair. The Crawfordsville-based American Legion baseball team simply dug themselves a hole and had to dig out of it, playing much better than their 9-8 walk-off win over Clinton Post 140 would suggest.

Starting pitcher Tyler DePugh delivered the heroics. He drove home pinch hitter Michael Herrmann in the bottom of the ninth with a walk-off sacrifice fly. Herrmann reach on an error, took second base on a wild pitch and then inexplicably stole third with nobody out. The throw beat him, but the third baseman couldn't handle it. DePugh tossed five innings of solid work, but was tabbed for six runs. They all came in the third inning, when Clinton sent 11 batters to the plate. And they were all unearned.

"We've played (Clinton) four times now. They're a good program. We told the guys we have to stay in the game and keep playing. We have to stay focused and do the small things," said head coach John Pickett. "It was good because we've been off for a while because of rain issues. It was real good to get this win."

The six-run third could have been fatal had Post 72 not gotten started with a bang themselves. They scored four in the first with Kaleb Belcher delivering a two-run home run and Chase Mahoy and Brantley Fortner each notching RBI-singles.

So the hole was only two runs, but it was uphill all the way to get it back. Post 72 narrowed things to 6-5 in the bottom of the fourth when Belcher delivered an RBI double to score Mitch Rice. Rice got on with a one-out single and stole second without a throw.

Clinton extended the lead to 8-5 with another two runs in the seventh inning thanks to a scorched double from their No. 8 hitter. He was 2-3 and reached base four times despite hitting at the bottom of the lineup.

Post 72 scored a run in the seventh and eighth innings to knot things up headed to the ninth. Devin Miller doubled in the seventh to send Fortner across. Mahoy hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth to score Rice, who showed off his speed again by going first to third on a wild pitch after a lead-off single.

The ninth-inning heroics were due in large part to Brian Boehm's effort on the mound. Boehm, who will be a senior at Crawfordsville next year, came on with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the eighth. He induced a 1-2-3 double play before striking out the next hitter. He worked a perfect ninth before Herrmann hit for him and went on to score the game-winning run.

"I was just pitching to contact. I knew I needed to throw strikes and try to get a ground ball," said Boehm. "We did and we were able to get the double play out of it. It was an adrenaline rush (heading to the ninth) for sure."

"I can't praise him enough," said Pickett. "He came in a really, really, really bad situation and got the job done tonight. He was the best pitcher I had tonight."

Post 72 is now 23-5 on the year and will play host to Terre Haute Post 346 on Thursday at 7 p.m. at North Montgomery. The Terre Haute team features eight players that played for the Terre Haute North High School team that was the 4A state runner up.

"We're getting ready for the postseason," Pickett said. "I told them we have to play teams like this getting ready for the postseason."