PDT Sports Writer
CHILLICOTHE — In a double-elimination tournament, there are perks for being successful.
For Post 23, it meant a first-round bye and an automatic berth into Saturday semifinals of the American Legion District 7 Tournament. But in order to advance, winning was essential.
Unfortunately Post 23 lost its first game of the afternoon 2-1 to Circleville Post 134, forcing the team from Portsmouth to turn right back around and play for its tournament survival. The goal was accomplished with a four-run third inning against Chillicothe Post 757 en route to a 7-2 win over the Colts.
“We’ve come out of the loser’s bracket before,” Post 23 coach Jack Branon said. “The last two times we went to state, we came out of the loser’s bracket and it’s something you’ve got to do, put yourself into position and you’ve got to do it.”
In the opener, Post 23 took the first lead of the game in the top of the fourth. Tate Bailey led off the inning with a walk and scored what turned out to be the team’s only run thanks to a Patrick Riehl RBI single.
Normally any type of lead is a good lead for Derek Moore when he is on the mound. But the Panthers got to him in the sixth when Matt Shannon led off the inning with a triple and scored off a Rod Lucas hit to tie the game at 1-1.
After a Daryin Lewis sacrifice, Cole Cunningham struck out but reached on the dropped third strike to put runners at the corners. Brandon Wright hit a sacrifice fly to score Lucas and help Post 134 advance to today’s winner’s bracket final.
“Derek pitched pretty well for eight innings,” Branon said. “What happened in the inning that they scored totally wasn’t his fault, we had some defensive mistakes and in a game like that, you can’t have defensive mistakes.”
Post 23 had its opportunities to add runs but base running mistakes throughout the contest killed any hope.
“It seemed like (in the first game) that every time we hit the ball hard, it was at them,” Branon said.
In Game Two, both Post 757 and Post 23 scored runs in the second. Jacob Kellough led off the third with a triple and scored on a botched squeeze play after Tyler Sanford’s pitch was wild and allowed Kellough to score.
Post 23 took the lead for good in the next half inning by batting around and knocking out Colts starter Seth McGuire after 2 1/3 innings of work. Single runs in the fifth and eighth were insurance runs for Sanford to pick up the win as he went eight innings and struck out a pair.
“I thought we bounced back well and we got some key hits,” Branon said.
For the day offensively, Alex Hartley led the team by going a combined 5-for-8 with three doubles and a triple. Tate Bailey, who was 0-for-1 with a walk and being hit by two pitches in the first game, was 3-for-4 in the second contest.
Post 23 plays in today’s loser’s bracket at V.A. Memorial Stadium, a venue that was in doubt after a tree branch crashed through a portion of the right center field wall and ended Friday night’s Chillicothe Paints game prematurely. Today’s contest is slated for 4 p.m. against an undetermined opponent.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 242, or email@example.com.
Post 23 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 — 1 7 1
Post 134 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 x — 2 5 1
Post 23 — Noel 1-4, Bailey 0-1 (BB, 2 HBP, R), Boyer 1-3 (SAC), Riehl 2-4 (RBI), Hartley 2-4 (3B), Howard 1-3.
Post 134 — Shannon 1-3 (3B, BB, R), Lucas 1-4 (RBI, R), Lewis 0-2 (HBP, SAC), Wright 0-2 (SAC, RBI), Cline 1-3, Taylor 2-3, Shull 0-2 (SAC).
W — Taylor (n/a)
L — Moore (7-1)
Records — Post 23 29-15; Post 134 28-14.
Post 757 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 2 9 1
Post 23 0 1 4 0 1 0 0 1 x — 7 12 1
Post 757 — Kellough 3-3 (3B, BB, 2 SB, R), Mavis 2-3 (SAC), Millikin 2-4 (R), Stockham 1-4, Vest 1-3 (RBI).
Post 23 — Noel 1-5 (SB, R), Bailey 3-4 (RBI, R), Boyer 1-4 (R), Riehl 2-4 (3B, 2 RBI, 2 R), Hartley 3-4 (3 2B, RBI, R), Hood 2-2 (2B, BB, SAC, RBI, R), Shockley 0-2 (BB, SAC, RBI), Shupert 0-2 (BB, SAC, RBI), Martin 0-0 (BB).
W — Sanford (5-2)
L — McGuire (0-3)
Records — Post 757 16-21; Post 23 30-15.