CHILLICOTHE — Throughout the course of the American Legion Region V Tournament, the Waverly Post 142 Shockers showed off the improvements that they’ve made during the 2017 campaign in a fine fashion.
Unfortunately, Post 142, after outscoring its opponents by an 18-5 mark in the American Legion Region V Tournament over its first 17 innings of play in the tournament, were victimized again as Waverly, after collecting a 3-0 advantage over Chillicothe Post 757 during the first two innings of action on Wednesday evening, was eliminated from tournament action by a 6-4 tally in the consolation bracket of Region V play at VA Memorial Stadium.
For Jonathan Teeters, however, the loss and the events that took place over the past couple of games is just part of how the game goes sometimes.
“Baseball is a funny game,” Teeters said. “The ball down the line in the ninth hits the foul line and that’s the game. 757 is a scrappy bunch. At the end of the day we didn’t hit the ball well enough or play good enough defensively to win the game. It’s tough coming off the loss last night from a mental standpoint. We were in a position we shouldn’t have been in, but that’s baseball.”
After the first pair of batters for Post 142 were retired in order, Shane Spriggs’ hit by pitch and Xander Carmichael’s base knock to left field allowed Spriggs to score on an error and allowed Waverly to strike with the opening salvo as the Shockers took a 1-0 lead after an inning of play.
Like the first inning of play, Post 142 continued its offensive momentum in the second inning of action as Waverly again created two-out magic. After a walk by Garrett Moore and a single by Logan Kottenbrook that turned into a double after an outfield error, Ian Gillen came up with the clutch hit by launching a two-out single back up the middle of the diamond as Waverly took a 3-0 lead after two innings of play.
For the third consecutive affair, Post 142 received an excellent pitching performance on the mound as Josh Faro matched Waverly’s early offensive efforts with a strong game on the hill. Other than a pair of singles by Post 757’s Brian Smith and Trenton Harris, along with a double from Bowen Dratwa that tied the score after three innings of play, Faro proved to be a force for Post 142 by throwing five and two-thirds innings of efficient baseball in allowing just three hits outside of the third inning and by not walking a single batter during the affair.
“Josh tossed a really good game for us,” Teeters said. “He was able to keep Post 757 off balance for the most part.”
Unfortunately, Chillicothe Post 757 kept its foot in the gas.
After Faro retired Hunter Hennenberger and Caleb Fogelsong in order to begin the sixth inning, a single by Nate Lechner and a double by Ethan Cunningham put runners on second and third with two gone. With Faro on a high pitch count, Post 142 decided to make a pitching change by moving Tanner Cunningham from right field to the mound. There, Cunningham battled in an effective pitching performance against perhaps Post 757’s best slugger in Smith. Unfortunately, Smith was able to poke a dribbler just enough out of the reach of both Cunningham and Moore as Post 757 took a 4-3 lead.
Undeterred, Waverly came right back, as they did all tournament long, by manufacturing runs. After a hit by pitch and a 1-3 sacrifice bunt by Luke Lindamood, along with a walk to Moore and a wild pitch, Kottenbrook came through once again by driving in Eli Ruth with his base knock to left field as Post 142 tied the score at four.
But despite a strong relief performance by Cunningham, Post 757 ultimately had the final answer.
With the score still knotted at four aside in the top of the ninth frame, a single to right field by Harris and another base knock back up the middle by Dratwa allowed Sam Frazier to ultimately come through as the second baseman ripped a two-run double down the left field line — with the baseball landing right on the foul line in left — to score Harris and Dratwa as Post 142 was eliminated from the tournament via the 6-4 defeat.
The loss, which ends the American Legion baseball campaign for Waverly Post 142, will see the departure of six players, including Wheelersburg’s Carmichael and Minford’s Eric Cook, along with Kottenbrook, Moore, Spriggs, and Drew Harris. However, Cunningham and Lindamood are among the stellar student-athletes who do return for the Shockers, which also includes Marty Knittel, Ian Gillen, Eli Ruth, and Jake Reed among others.
“Logan Kottenbrook is a three-year senior player for us that we’ll lose,” Teeters said. “We also will lose Shane Spriggs, Eric Cook, Garrett Moore, Xander Carmichael, and Drew Harris, who all finished their careers this summer for 142. We are looking forward to what 2018 will hold for our program at 142.”
Teeters, who led Waverly to 13 wins over the Post schedule, gave special thanks to American Legion Post 142, Cardo’s Pizza of Waverly, Dixon Jewelers, Family Vision Care, First National Bank, Gleason’s Paint and Body Shop, Quality Tree Service, Realtec Real Estate, Remy’s Used Cars, Sons of The American Legion, and Stacy L. Davis General Dentistry for their sponsorship of the Shockers in 2017.
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7