Legion baseball: Sidney Post 217 to open regional tourney with Greenville Friday

Aiming to advance at the end of July to its sixth state tournament appearance in the last seven American Legion state tourneys, Sidney Post 217 will take the field on Friday night at 6 p.m. in the first game of the Region 2 double-elimination event.

Sidney meets Greenville Post 140, a club that Post 217 thumped earlier in the summer, 8-2. Troy Post 43 opens the tourney on Thursday at 6 p.m. versus the host, Piqua Post 184.

The losers of the first two contests collide in game number three on Saturday at noon. The first pair of winners tangle on Saturday at 3 in game number four. The winner of game three and the loser of game four meet on Saturday at 6.

Championship games are Sunday at noon and, if necessary, Sunday at 3:30. The legion squad still standing without two losses receives the state tourney invite.

This weekend’s event takes place at Hardman Field on Forest Avenue in Piqua. Hardman is a lighted baseball complex with permanent seating, a pressbox, and pitching and batting cages.

This four-team tourney is rotated each year in July among the four legion venues in Sidney, Troy, Greenville and Piqua.

The Piqua site is named for long-time Piqua High School coach Jim Hardman, who amassed 522 wins as the mentor of PHS baseball. He earned another 500 or so victories as the coach for Post 184. Coach Hardman passed away in 2012 at 84 years of age.

His son Chris has carried on the Hardman legacy with more than four decades of coaching, including 30 years as the head man at Ottawa Hills High School near Toledo.

Sidney Post 217 has won five of the last six Region 2 tournaments to advance to the state competition at Lancaster, which consists of eight district champs. Sidney was 0-2 the last two summers at the state event. In 2019, Sidney finished third with a 3-2 mark and topped host Lancaster by a 7-1 score.

In 2018, Van Wert claimed the Region 2 tourney title. Sidney was the champ in 2016 and 2017.

“It’s a challenge to get back year after year,” said Jacob Peters, the first-year Sidney coach, noting that Sidney has split two games this summer with both Piqua and Troy. “Our district is very balanced.”

He indicated that the club which performs best on the mound will probably earn the state berth.

Peters pointed out that his squad enjoyed great success this summer at the Best of Ohio event at Vandalia-Butler, winning five straight to take the tourney crown after being no-hit in the opening game loss.

“We’re looking forward to playing well at our own district and then competing again at Beavers Field in Lancaster,” Peters said. He added that his club played solid baseball on the road at the Fourth of July tourney hosted by Lancaster Post 11.

“A return trip there this summer would mean going head-to-head with the elite American Legion squads in Ohio,” he said. “It would also mean another great experience for our program and our kids.”

The American Legion state tournament is set for July 24 to 28 in Lancaster.