TROY — For all the problems that plagued the Region 2 American Legion tournament this year, things went perfect for Sidney Post 217.
The squad beat Greenville Post 140 8-4 on Wednesday at Duke Park in Troy to cap off a perfect 3-0 run in the tournament earn a spot in the state Legion tournament next week at Lancaster’s Beavers Field. It’s the third state berth for the program in the last four years and comes a year after the squad lost to Van Wert in a championship game.
“We had a tough stretch in the middle of the summer where we weren’t playing really good baseball, but we had a little bit of a break before this tournament, and they came back ready and focused,” Sidney coach Daulton Mosbarger said. “You could really see that. They played some of their best baseball in the last three games.”
Sidney (15-13) advances to face the Region 5 winner next Wednesday at 1 p.m. The entire state tournament will take place in Lancaster.
“It’ll be pretty normal for us, like a weekend tournament,” Mosbarger said. “We played down there in a doubleheader last year. Being one game away last year, it’s nice to get there with this group of guys.”
Greenville Post 140 beat Troy Post 43 6-5 in extra innings on Tuesday in an elimination game to advance to Wednesday’s game. The tournament uses a double-elimination format. Greenville lost to Troy last Friday to drop into the loser’s bracket and needed to beat Sidney twice to earn a state berth.
They didn’t come close to getting the first.
Post 217 scored four runs in the both the third and fourth innings to take an 8-0 lead and cruised from there, despite Greenville being able to take advantage of several errors to narrow the final gap.
It was perfect run for the squad despite a problem-plagued start to the tournament, which is made of the five Western Ohio League teams. Sidney, which was the tournament’s No. 2 seed, was supposed to open tournament play last Wednesday in Piqua. Rain forced that game and another game to be postponed to Thursday.
A thunderstorm on Thursday afternoon forced Sidney’s game to be postponed to Friday. The one game that did play on Thursday in Piqua was suspended in the fourth inning due to a bank of lights going out.
Post 217 finally opened tournament play in Troy last Friday with a 10-1 victory over Piqua. The advanced the squad to a second-round game against Troy, which was scheduled for Sunday. That game was postponed to Monday after an afternoon rainstorm inundated Duke Park.
The delays didn’t make Sidney stiff, though. Post 217 beat Troy 5-0 on Monday and jumped out early on Wednesday to take control.
It also didn’t hurt Sidney that No. 1 seed Van Wert made a quick exit by losing its first two tournament games. The squads split in WOL play this season.
“Being in the winner’s bracket to start the tournament favors you, but we put ourselves in that position,” Mosbarger said. “That’s a huge advantage, and we took advantage. It saved us a lot of pitching, which Greenville was struggling with going through all those loser’s bracket games. I stressed to the guys that if we took care of business early, it would only be easier for us when it comes to the championship games.”
Sidney started recent Versailles alum Zach Griesdorn on the mound. Griesdorn pitched for the team in last Friday’s win over Piqua and had success on Wednesday again. He allowed only one baserunner in the first four innings and allowed five hits and one earned run in six innings.
“It wasn’t (Griesdorn’s) prettiest outing, but he grinded and was effective,” Mosbarger said.
Post 217 struggled early against Greenville starter Tyler Beyke. But after not getting a base runner in the first two innings, the squad came alive with two outs in the third.
After Darren Hoying flied out to start the inning, Mitch Larger walked and Brady Burrey hit a single on a hard ground ball to left field.
That brought up the top of the order, and Evan Monnier walked to load the bases. Griesdorn then hit into a routine out, but the inning was far from over.
Kyle Noble started the scoring by hitting a two-run single to center field, then Kurtis Rutschilling hit a one-run single to center field. Bryce Kennedy followed with a one-run double to boost the lead to 4-0.
Sidney added another four runs in the fourth. Burrey hit a one-run double, Monnier hit a one-run single, Rutschilling hit a one-run double off the center-field fence and Kennedy hit a one-run single to left field.
Greenville added two runs in the fourth thanks in part to two Sidney errors. The squad added another run in the sixth and another in the seventh to narrow the final gap.
“Those few innings, those guys came up in big spots,” Mosbarger said. “Getting a lot of hits in that (third) inning with two outs were big. It’s nice to get out by that margin and takes a little pressure off in a game like that.”
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.