SIDNEY — A pair of errors helped cause an early lead by Sidney Post 217 to disintegrate in an American Legion baseball game against Napoleon Post 300 on Wednesday at Custenborder Field.
The River Bandits were aided by errors in the sixth and seventh innings to take a two-run lead, then ran away in an 8-3 victory that was shortened due to a thunderstorm that moved through the area.
Post 217 (5-3) took a 2-1 lead in the third inning and held it for a while thanks in part to a stellar pitching performance by Daniel Kearns. One error in each the sixth and seventh helped Napoleon score three runs and take a 4-2 lead.
Kearns was removed after the seventh, and Napoleon (9-4) added four runs in the eighth to run away. The game was called with the first batter at the plate in the top of the ninth.
“They had seen Daniel a few times and his pitch count was getting up there and they started to put it in play,” Sidney coach Daulton Mosbarger said. “We booted a few balls. They had a (hit) right on the foul line, we had a couple of balls off our guys’ gloves.
“They had a couple of breaks go there way, but they definitely earned it. They’re one of the better teams we’re going to play, and I told the guys that.”
It was the second loss to Napoleon in the last week. Post 217 lost to the River Bandits 5-4 in Troy Post 43’s Veterans Tournament last Friday at Duke Park. Post 217 then won four games before falling 6-5 in the tournament’s championship game to the Columbus Braves, a team made of all college players.
Post 217 was scheduled to host Van Wert Post 178 on Tuesday in a Western Ohio League game, but it was canceled due to Van Wert lacking enough players.
“We’ve played (Napoleon) tough both times we played them,” Mosbarger said. “… They’re a good team. They play a lot of games and are with each other the entire summer. They’re just perennially good. They had a lot of good arms that some of our guys were a little late on some of the fastballs they were throwing, but that’s good experience moving forward.”
Hunter Bostater hit a solo home run in the top of the second to give the River Bandits a 1-0 lead, but Sidney struck back in the bottom of the third.
Kyle Noble hit a line-drive double to center field with two outs, and after Kurtis Rutschilling drew a walk, Jarred Siegle hit a double to right field that scored two runs. Siegle was thrown out trying to advance to third to end the inning.
After Bostater’s home run, Kearns retired the next 13 batters. Napoleon started hitting late, though.
Axel Shanks reached second on a throwing error by Post 217 shortstop Mitch Larger with one out in the sixth and advanced to second. He moved to third on a groundout and then scored when Landon Willeman hit a single on a hard grounder that stayed fair right along the left-field line.
The River Bandits added two more runs in the seventh. Austin Bostater was hit by a pitch with one out, then Dakota Benner hit a single. Daryke Bass then hit an RBI double on a line drive to right field to score one run and put Napoleon ahead 3-2.
Shanks reached on an error after a grounder he hit struck Siegle’s shoe at third base, then Jeron Williams hit an RBI single to center field to increase the lead to two runs.
Kearns was removed after the seventh, and things fell apart in the eighth. Brandan Rose started the inning on the mound and Adam Kremer finished, and the duo allowed four earned runs on five hits and two walks.
Sidney had four hits and committed three errors while Napoleon had 10 hits and one error.
Kearns was charged with the loss. He gave up three earned runs on five hits and one walk and struck out five batters.
Levi Gonyer picked up the win for the River Bandits. The squad’s four pitchers combined to strike out 13 batters and allowed seven walks.
Noble finished 2 for 4, with his second hit coming on a solo home run in the eighth inning that landed several yards behind the left-field fence.
Post 217 will play in the Kings Mid-Summer Classic in Cincinnati this weekend and will return to Custenborder Field next Tuesday to play Piqua Post 184 in a WOL game.
“I like where we’re at right now,” Mosbarger said. “It’s a good spot going into the weekend.”
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.