LANCASTER — Sidney Post 217 couldn’t survive the first day in the state American Legion tournament.
The squad lost 9-6 to Tiffin Post 169 on Tuesday afternoon, then fell 2-0 to Utica Post 92 in an elimination game on Monday evening.
Sidney struggled to hit Utica Post 92 pitcher Aaron Ward in the first elimination game of the double-elimination tournament. Ward pitched a complete game on 102 pitches.
Sidney’s best chance to score against Utica came in the bottom of the fourth.
Xavier Phlipot reached after beating a throw on hard grounder to first base. Jake Sanders then followed with a fly to center field that was mishandled, and the runners advanced on a sacrifice groundout by Evan Eilerman.
Johnny Nixon was intentionally walked to load the bases for Aiden Shappie, who flied out to right field. Utica right fielder Braylon Bates fired home a throw, and the catcher easily tagged out Phlipot for the third out.
Utica scored both runs on two hits in the third.
Post 217 unofficially finished with four hits while Utica finished with six.
Sidney fell behind 4-1 to Tiffin Post 169 in its first game on Monday afternoon. The squad battled back in late innings, though.
Gabe Link drew a walk to start Sidney in the fifth. He moved to second and third on routine outs, then scored when Phlipot hit a double to center field.
Tiffin scored one run in the top of the sixth to take a 5-2 lead, but Sidney battled back in the bottom half of the inning.
Nixon reached after hitting a grounder that was misplayed by the third baseman, then Shappie drew a walk. Link drew a walk to load the bases for Jack Davidson, who struck out.
But Hayden Wibbler hit an infield ground out that allowed Nixon to score, then leadoff hitter Gavin Roberts was hit by a pitch.
Shappie scored on a passed ball with Phlipot at the plate to cut the gap to 5-4. Phlipot drew a walk to load the bases for Jake Sanders.
Sanders battled in an eight-pitch at bat in which he fouled off six throws. But Sanders ultimately hit a routine fly out to right field to leave the bases loaded.
Tiffin scored four runs on four hits, one walk and one hit batter in the top of the seventh to take a 9-4 lead. Sidney added two runs on two hits in the bottom half but couldn’t pull closer.
Grant Saunders started on the mound for Sidney and pitched 5 2/3 innings. He gave up four earned runs on eight hits and six walks while striking out seven batters.
Phlipot finished 2 for 3 with one walk while Link finished 2 for 2 with two walks. Nixon finished 2 for 4.
Tiffin unofficially had 11 hits and committed two errors while Sidney had eight hits and committed two errors.
Tiffin took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first after an error, a walk and a double.
Sidney scored one run in the bottom of the inning. Phlipot hit a single to right field with one out, then Sanders hit an infield single. Eilerman then drove in Phlipot on a ground out.
But Tiffin scored two runs on two hits and one walk in the top of the second to take a 3-1 lead, then scored one run on two hits and one walk in the top of the fourth to take a three-run lead. Neither team scored again until the fifth.
Ben Palomo picked up the win for Tiffin. He pitched 4 2/3 innings and gave up two earned runs on five hits and three walks while striking out two batters.
Tiffin used three pitchers over the last three innings, as the squad tried to manage pitch counts to save available pitchers for the double-elimination tournament.
It was the third consecutive season Sidney Post 217 earned a state berth and the fifth in the last six seasons conducted; the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.