LANCASTER — Sidney Post 217 White will have to post a lot of wins by Friday evening in order to win the Ohio American Legion state tournament. The squad took its first step on Wednesday morning.
Post 217 White scored four runs in the first two innings to take control and pulled away late to a 14-3 victory in seven innings over St. Clairsville Post 159 in an elimination game at Beavers Field in Lancaster.
Sidney racked up 13 hits at the plate while four pitchers guided the team on the mound, including Ryan Caufield, who started and gave up one hit while striking out three batters in 2 2/3 innings.
Sidney lost 10-2 to Yeager-Benson Post 199 in its opener on Tuesday to drop into the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament. Every game for the rest of the tournament will be an elimination game for Post 217 White (23-5).
Wednesday morning’s victory advanced the squad to a matchup with Napoleon Post 300, which lost 9-8 to Lancaster Post 11 in a second-round winner’s bracket game on Wednesday morning. Sidney and Napoleon are slated to start playing at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
If victorious, Sidney will advance to play in an elimination game at noon on Thursday. If Post 217 White wins on Thursday, the squad will advance to a championship game at noon on Friday. The squad will have to win the noon contest to force a second title game at 3 p.m., then win the second game to claim a state title and berth in one of the Legion’s national regional tournaments.
The White quickly took control in the first inning on Wednesday against St. Clairsville pitcher Dylan Gregorcic.
Gregorcic walked leadoff hitter Ryan Schloss, then Jake Sanders hit a single on a grounder to second base. Jarin Bertke followed with a 2-RBI double to center field, then Jack Olberding drove in Bertke on a line-drive single to center to push the lead to 3-0.
Post 217 added one run on one hit and two walks in the second to take a 4-1 lead.
Caufield was removed in the third and Aiden Booth took over on the mound. St. Clairsville scored one run off Booth in the fourth, but Post 217 White added four in the top of the fifth.
Schloss led off the inning with a double to right field, then Sanders hit a single on an infield grounder. Bertke was hit by a pitch to load the bases, then Olberding hit a two-run single to center to push the lead to 6-1.
Adam Ketner drove in one run on a grounder to right field two batters later, then Olberding scored on a fly out to push the advantage to 8-1.
St. Clairsville scored two runs off two hits and one walk in the bottom of the sixth, but Sidney secured things in the top of the seventh with six runs on five hits, one walk and one hit batter. Sanders, Bertke and Olberding had RBI singles in the inning while Ketner had a 2-RBI double.
Booth pitched 2 2/3 innings and gave up one earned run on four hits and one walk while striking out two. Carson Taylor pitched 2/3 of an inning and gave up two earned runs on two hits and one walk. Sanders, who does not normally pitch, closed the game in the bottom of the seventh and struck out two batters.
Sanders was 3 for 3 at the plate and drew two walks. Bertke was 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs and Olberding was 3 for 5 with 4 RBIs. Ketner was 3 for 5 with 2 RBIs.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.