In The Red Zone: Ken Wakefield

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

THE WRAP: Post 175 Forced To Final Tournament Game...

They could have wrapped up the American Legion District 11 title for the third straight year tonight. Instead, Mechanicsville Post 175, for the second straight year, must win it the hard way.

Falling behind 9-1, then falling short in a ninth inning rally, Post 175 fell to West End Post 361 9-6 tonight at L.C. Bird High School in Chester, forcing a "winner-take-all" championship game in the double elimination tournament.

175 starter Patrick Holler matched 361 starter Patrick Hall inning for inning until the fifth, when Hall slammed a Holler pitch over the right field fence for a solo home run to give 361 a 1-0 lead. It fell apart for 175 in the sixth when Holler started the frame with back-to-back walks after a flyout. Holler finished with 5.1 IP, allowing three runs on three hits, striking out six, while walking three total.

Kyle Battle greeted reliever Thomas Renfro with a double to left-center, scoring the two walked batters, Drew Barker and Will Black. Two singles, a fielders choice and an error later, five runs were across and it was 6-0.

Post 361 added important insurance runs with two in the eighth, one in the ninth, putting 175 in a 9-1 hole with three outs to go. But Mechanicsville mounted a rally, chasing Hall after eight innings and four batters. After walks to Josh Shepherd and pinch hitter Cody Powers, pinch hitter Josh Lam doubled to center to score both men. Anthony Zona singled to left. Closer Kyle Saltzberg was greeted by Evan Swecker with a three-run homer to left center field to cut the lead to 9-6.

Haiden Lamb doubled to left with two out, but Jakob Pridemore popped out to first to end the rally and the game.

Post 175 is now 15-3, and has the benefit of a deep pitching pool for the title match. They can opt to start Powers, Joey Pride, or Taylor Crowe, who started 175's 6-2 win over 361 Friday in an earlier tournament round.

Head Coach Bobby White says it is up to the players as to whether they want to take the title and advance to next week's American Legion State Tournament.

"I told them to go home, look in the mirror tonight, and decide whether or not they want this season to continue," White said. "I said it's not often you get to play for a championship."

Game time is 7pm at L.C. Bird High School in Chester.

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