VINITA - Miami was downright offensive on two counts here Thursday when it faced Seminole in the first round of the AAA American Legion baseball tournament.
Post 147 fell behind 3-0 in the first inning and 8-3 in the third as pitcher Brett Abell was hammered for 10 hits in one of his roughest outings of 2007.
But Miami was a changed team in the third inning, when it sent 17 batters to the plate and scored 11 times to turn the tide in their 16-8 victory at Bob McSpadden Field.
"What a great day for our bats to come alive," Miami coach Chad Ross said. "That is a quality win."
This marked the second straight game where the Wardogs used a huge rally to pull out a victory.
They had trailed Vinita 9-1 going into the sixth inning of Saturday's district final, but rallied for eight runs to claim an 11-9 win.
Miami (21-2) now faces Wilburton at 2:30 p.m. today in the winner's bracket semifinal. Wilburton beat Vinita 7-6 in the other first round game Thursday.
"It's nice to get that first one and stay in the winner's bracket," Ross said. "You play fewer games that way."
The "high road" for Miami would require only three games - Thursday's opener, a 2:30 p.m. winner's bracket game today and then the 2 p.m. title game on Saturday.
A loss today would require them to turn around and play at 5 p.m. today, 2 p.m. Saturday and again at 5 p.m. Saturday in the "if necessary" game if they want to win their first-ever Legion state title.
Jared White is scheduled to get the start this afternoon "and we'll go from there," Ross said.
As tough a time as Abell had in the first three innings against the Chiefs, it was classic Brett Abell as he allowed only one hit and three baserunners while blanking Seminole the rest of the way.
"Brett gutted it out and got outs when he needed them," Ross said. "The last three innings, he really pitched well."
The third inning explosion started innocently for both teams as White was retired. Miami trailed 8-3 at the time.
Thirteen batters reached consecutively during the third inning explosion before Grant Longcrier hit into a fielder's choice for the second out.
After White was retired, Nick Henson doubled and Keith Freeman - who will play for Seminole State starting this fall - crushed a home run to make it 8-5.
Josh White drew what would be the first of five walks in the inning. Nick Jones singled and Longcrier singled to load the bases.
James Pickens and Joe Pilkinton had RBI singles then Abell helped himself with a two-run double that gave Post 147 a 9-8 lead.
White walked to re-load the bases then a walk to Henson, a single by Freeman and walks to White and Jones pushed across two more runs to make it 13-8.
First baseman Wes May fielded Longcrier's grounder but his throw home in an attempt to get Freeman on a force play hit the bat and caromed wildly towards the Seminole dugout.
Reliever Josh Baulch finally regained his composure, striking out Pickens and getting Pilkinton to foul out, ending the inning.
The Wardogs picked up a single run in the bottom of the fourth. Abell and Jared White walked and each advanced on a wild pitch. Henson picked up the RBI when he grounded out.
Walks came back to bite Seminole again in the sixth.
Pilkinton led off with a walk and Abell doubled. After White fanned, an intentional walk to Henson loaded the bases.
Freeman made the Chiefs pay, drilling a single up the middle that kicked in the eight-run rule.
Everybody in the lineup had at least one hit for Post 147.
Freeman headed up Miami's 16-hit attack with his homer, two singles and four RBIs.
Pilkinton had three singles and two RBIs while Longcrier chipped in with three singles and one RBI.
Abell helped himself with a pair of doubles while Henson added one double. Jared White, Josh White, Jones and Pickens had singles.
Josh Baulch headed up the Chiefs' 11-hit attack with a three-run homer I the third and two singles. Matt Johnson and Riley Keith each had two singles.