SIDNEY — Sidney Post 217 started its season later than other area American Legion baseball teams — and is still waiting on one player from Minster to join the squad.
The later start and a shorthanded roster didn’t prevent the team from winning a season opener against a more experienced squad, though. Post 217 rallied from a two-run deficit and beat previously undefeated Greenville Post 140 4-2 at Custenborder Field.
Sidney managed just four hits but took advantage of three errors in the fifth inning to beat Greenville, which won its first six games, five of which came in a Memorial Day weekend tournament in Springfield.
It was only the second day the team has been together. Post 217 had a scrimmage on Sunday against alumni and members of its 15U squad.
“We only had nine guys at our scrimmage, and with Russia and Minster still playing (in tournament), we haven’t been able to get together as a team,” coach Daulton Mosbarger said. “This is really our first day.”
Mosbarger, who is an assistant at Urbana University, returns for his second year as the program’s coach. He is a Bellefontaine graduate and played collegiately at Akron and Ohio State.
The squad had 11 players on Wednesday, over half of which are returnees from last year: Zach Griesdorn (Versailles), Evan Monnier (Russia), Kyle Noble (Wilmington College), Darren Hoying (Fort Loramie), Daniel Kearns (Russia) and Bryce Kennedy (Lehman Catholic).
Mosbarger said the team will get another returnee back when Jack Heitbrink joins the squad after Minster’s season concludes in the state tournament this weekend.
“(The returnees) knew what to expect, and we knew what to expect from those guys,” Mosbarger said. “A lot of them are coming off of long seasons where they had a lot of success, so we were comfortable inserting them in the starting lineup and just rolling.
“We should be all right. We’ve still got about five guys that aren’t here yet, so when we get those guys, we’ll have a pretty solid team.”
Griesdorn, who was a first team all-Midwest Athletic Conference selection last spring, pitched six innings on Wednesday and picked up the win. He gave up two earned runs on seven hits and struck out six batters with two walks. Monnier pitched the seventh in relief and gave up one hit and one walk.
Kearns and Heitbrink, who were both first team all-league selections in their schools’ conferences, are also pitchers. Mitch Larger (Sidney) and Adam Kremer (Versailles) round out the team’s throwers.
Other new additions to Post 217’s roster this season aside from Larger and Kremer are Kurtis Rutschilling (University of Toledo), Isaac Roby (Indian Lake) and Brandan Rose (Sidney).
“We’re going to keep moving,” Mosbarger said. “With those young guys that we can sprinkle in, we’ll be good. We’re not as veteran as we were last year, but those older guys will teach the younger guys how it’s done.”
Greenville Post 140 took a 2-0 lead after scoring one run in both the second and third innings. Post 217 struggled at the plate early and managed one hit in the first three innings while striking out four times against Greenville starter Trent Collins.
Rutschilling, a Versailles graduate, sparked the team’s offense in the fourth by hitting a solo home run to center field to cut the gap to one.
“I felt that got our guys a little confidence and let them say, ‘Hey, we can hit this guy,’” Mosbarger said.
Sidney then took control in the fifth.
After Kremer struck out to start the inning, Griesdorn reached an error by Greenville first baseman Tytan Grote and Monnier reached on an error by second baseman Gaven Trevino.
Noble, a Sidney graduate, hit a line-drive double to center field to score Griesdorn and tie it, then Rutschilling hit a ground ball and reached on an error by shortstop Tyler Beyke. Monnier and Noble both scored on the same error to put Post 217 ahead 4-2.
Post 140 had three base runners in the last two innings and didn’t advance either further than second.
Collins picked up the loss on the mound. He pitched five innings and allowed one earned run on four hits. He struck out eight batters while walking one.
Post 217 will play in Troy Post 43’s Veterans Tournament at Duke Park in Troy this weekend and will return to Custenborder Field to face Van Wert Post 178 on Tuesday.
Area athletes playing for Piqua, Troy Legion squads
Many area players are playing for Piqua Post 184 and Troy Post 43 this summer.
Almost all of Piqua Post 184’s roster is made of players from local high schools: Jack Olberding (Minster), Howie Ludwig (Houston), Luke Foster (Houston), Drew Barhorst (Lehman Catholic), Jared Magoteaux (Lehman), Alex Keller (Lehman), RJ Bertini (Lehman), Jacob Trent (Lehman), Garrett Toops (Versailles), Will Eversole (Versailles), Ethan Westerbeck (Fairlawn) and Levi Godwin (Riverside).
Jackson Center’s Jacob Francis is playing with Troy Post 43 for the second consecutive year and will be joined by local players in Sidney’s Ben Spangler and Darius Boeke and Anna’s Kyle Evans.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.