GREENVILLE — Sidney Post 217 Red gave its older sibling club Post 217 White a close battle on Tuesday. But the Red will have to wait until Thursday for another chance to beat the White.
Post 217 White scored three runs in the bottom of the first to take control and held on from there to a 5-2 victory over the Red in an Ohio American Legion Region 2 tournament game at Sater Park in Greenville.
“Jumping out early like that really gives you an advantage and lets you take a little sigh of relief,” Post 217 White coach Daulton Mosbarger said. “It let us just come out and play after that.”
The loss dropped the Red into the loser’s bracket in the five-team, double-elimination tournament. The Red was scheduled to face Greenville Post 140 in an elimination game on Wednesday in Greenville. Post 140 beat Van Wert Post 178 4-3 in the second game on Tuesday in Greenville to advance to Wednesday’s contest.
The winner of Wednesday’s contest will advance to face Post 217 White at 6 p.m. on Thursday in Greenville.
Whoever won on Wednesday will need to beat the White twice on Thursday to win the Region 2 tournament and advance to the state tournament, which is slated to be held next week in Lancaster. A victory by the White squad in the first game on Thursday will earn it a state berth.
If Post 217 White loses in the 6 p.m. game on Thursday, a deciding championship game will be held immediately after, with an anticipated start time of 8:30.
Mosbarger said the White squad is confident heading into Thursday — especially since it has used only two pitchers in the tournament thus far.
“We’ve been fortunate there,” Mosbarger said. “We haven’t had to use a single bullpen guy. We’re pretty ready to roll on the pitching end of things. We’ve just got to handle business. We can’t take it for granted, even though we have that game (advantage) over whoever’s going to play us. We don’t want to have it come to (a second game).”
Caufield allowed two earned runs on six hits and struck out five batters while walking one and hitting one.
“Similar to the outing we got on Sunday, he got ahead consistently and was able to use all his pitches,” Mosbarger said. “He had a lot of confidence tonight. He’s a confident kid, and he is ready to go at any point.”
Post 217 Red threatened in the top of the seventh.
Aiden Shappie started the inning by hitting a line-drive single to left field that just got by White third baseman Alex Keller on its way into left. Ty Ruhenkamp then followed by singling to right field.
After a meeting on the mound, Caufield struck out Gavin Roberts. With leadoff hitter Derek Meyer at the plate, Shappie attempted to move to third on a passed ball. But catcher Adam Ketner tracked down the ball and fired it to third before Shappie arrived for the second out. Caufield then struck out Meyer to end it.
“We caught a lucky break,” Mosbarger said. “That went from being second and third with one out to two outs and a guy on second base. That really was a big difference-making bounce for us.
“Caufield settled in after (the two opening hits). He had a couple of good matchups. A lefty-on-lefty matchup against (Meyer), he was able to use his breaking ball to get him looking.
“Give all the credit to (Post 217 Red) for fighting. They’re a lot of great, young kids and a lot of great ball players.”
Post 217 Red’s Hayden Wibbler pitched a complete game. After giving up three earned runs on three hits in the first, he settled down and allowed two earned runs on six hits in the next five innings. He struck out two batters without walking or hitting any.
“He’s done a great job for us and has been our No. 1 or 2 all year,” Post 217 Red coach Jackson Hobbs said. “He’s able to throw all four pitches to any batter at any count. He’s confident with himself, and we’ve got some good players that play good defense and make plays. They’re a bunch of fighters and competitors.
“… Like I’ve said all year, these guys are competing their butts off for me. They’re a bunch of juniors playing a bunch of seniors and older kids. I’m proud of them.”
Hobbs said it’ll be a challenge for the squad to win three games in a little more than 24 hours, but he said the team is capable.
“Pitching and defense, that’s what we’ll need,” Hobbs said. “Gavin Roberts is going to get the ball (against Greenville), and we’ll come out and compete. Hopefully we can make enough plays and score enough runs to win and stay in it.”
Post 217 White got going in the first. Leadoff hitter Ryan Schloss hit a single to left field, then Jake Sanders hit a hard grounder to center field for a single.
After Darren Hoying popped out, Jack Olberding hit an RBI single to left field. Sanders scored from third on a pickoff attempt of Olberding at second base while Adam Ketner was at the plate. Ketner then grounded out, and Olberding scored from third to push the lead to 3-0.
The Red squad pulled within 3-2 in the third after three hits. Meyer hit a line-drive single to score Ruhenkamp, who led off the inning with a double to left field. Carson Regula later drove in a run on a fly out.
But the White answered with two runs in the bottom half. Sanders hit a line-drive double to left to start the inning, then scored when Hoying hit a line-drive single to left. Sanders scored two batters later on a fly out.
Sanders and Olberding each finished 2 for 3 while Ketner had 2 RBIs.
Ruhenkamp was 3 for 3 with one double.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.