CHILLICOTHE — The third-seeded Shockers started slow, but then made a dramatic three-win run to reach the Ohio Region V American Legion Baseball Tournament championship game.
That’s because, after losing to fourth-seeded Hillsboro 8-3 in its tournament opener, the Waverly Post 142 team reeled off three triumphs through the losers’ bracket on Tuesday and Wednesday —including a 6-4 Tuesday afternoon victory over Hillsboro before a 12-8 come-from-behind Wednesday win over top seed and tournament host Chillicothe.
All games took place inside Chillicothe’s spacious VA Memorial Stadium.
Needing two wins to win the championship after its losers’ bracket run, Waverly fell 16-3 at the hands of the Region V champion — fifth-seeded Yeager-Benson Post 199.
Post 199 outscored Portsmouth, Chillicothe and Waverly by a combined 31-8 in three games to win the regional championship.
The Shockers, however, in finishing as Region V runner-up, played their best baseball of the entire summer at its end.
After starting the summer by losing their opening six games, the Shockers stormed back to finish at 10-14.
“I can’t say enough good about our group of guys. We sent three teams home and played our best baseball in our regional tournament,” said Post 142 coach Jonathan Teeters. “Another step in the right direction for our program. We look forward to coming back locked and loaded with our 142 boys in 2022.”
After eliminating second-seeded Portsmouth 3-2, the Shockers exacted revenge and ousted Hillsboro —having trailed 4-2 following four innings.
The Shockers scored twice in the second stanza, on runs by Weston Roop and Easton Lansing after respectively reaching on an error and a walk, with Hunter Edwards adding an RBI-single — before Hillsboro bounced back with a pair of earned runs apiece in both the third and fourth frames off Shockers’ starting pitcher Alex Boles.
But in the fifth, Waverly forged the 4-4 tie — when it combined an L.T. Jordan walk with an error, a fielder’s choice, a stolen base, a wild pitch, a sacrifice fly by Roger Woodruff which scored Jordan and a double by Roop.
Dakota Secrest scored after originally reaching on the fielder’s choice.
In the sixth, nine-hole hitter Ben Flanders hammered a one-out triple, then Boles knocked him in for the go-ahead run with a single on the next at-bat.
Jordan then singled for the third time on the day, Secrest drew his second walk, and Woodruff made good with his second sac fly for the game to cross Boles.
The Shockers’ only other hits were Woodruff with a single in the third followed by Roop roping a single in the fourth —as that inning also included Edwards being hit by a pitch.
Boles, despite allowing the four earned runs on seven hits with a walk, struck out nine from Post 129 —as he split the most innings pitched (3 2/3 innings) with Derek Eblin (3 1/3 innings).
Secrest, who came on in relief of Flanders and with Hillsboro runners on the corners in the sixth and the score locked 4-4, got the final out of that inning —and then only allowed a two-out walk in the seventh in earning the pitching win.
Flanders, for his credit, gave up a one-out double and walk with runners ending up at second and third in the fifth, but then recorded those final two outs.
Hillsboro’s Hunter Burns, who doubled in the first and singled in the third, was left aboard in both innings —as were Hillsboro runners at first and second in the fourth.
In a high-scoring losers’ bracket final, the Shockers rallied for a 12-8 win over the Colts — as Waverly was down 2-1 after the opening inning and 7-2 following four.
However, Post 142 sent 11 batters to the plate in the fifth —and scored six runs to take charge at 8-7.
The Shockers then batted around in the sixth and tallied three more markers, before adding an insurance point in the seventh.
All Chillicothe could muster in the seventh was a single unearned run.
Later on Wednesday, the Shockers lost the only championship game to be played — as the contest was called following the fifth inning with the 10-run mercy rule.
Post 199 — this coming week (July 27-30) — will be among eight region championship teams from the state of Ohio competing in the Senior Legion state tournament at Lancaster’s Beavers Field.
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