LANCASTER — Sidney Post 217, after an impressive win Saturday morning, ran into what coach Jim Koewler said was the best pitcher his team faced all tournament long, and that, coupled with a huge early deficit, led to a 13-1 loss in seven innings to Pickerington in the semifinals of the State American Legion Baseball Tournament Saturday night.
Sidney finished an outstanding season with a 37-19 record, including 3-2 in Lancaster. Pickerington and Toledo played for the state championship Sunday afternoon.
Earlier Saturday, Sidney’s bats were still very much active, with Post 217 finishing in double figures in hits for the third consecutive game. But that all changed Saturday night against Pickerington righthander Thomas Green. He went all seven innings and allowed a hot-hitting Sidney team just three hits, while striking out seven.
After a scoreless first inning for both teams, Pickerington did a lot of damage in the second, scoring eight times. Three straight singles, one on a bunt, loaded the bases, and another single plated the first run of the game. A bases-clearing double followed, chasing Sidney starter Drew Wehrman.
Dakota Bollinger then entered on the mound for Sidney and induced the first hitter he faced to ground out to short. But then came a single, a wild pitch and a passed ball on a strikeout to give Pickerington runners on first and third with one out. The runner at first then stole second, and the went into centerfield to allow another run to score. Another single was followed by a sacrifice fly, and before Sidney got the third out, it was 8-0.
Sidney came back and got a run in the bottom of the second on a base hit by Bollinger, but Pickerington made a comeback much more difficult with four more runs in the top of the third.
A leadoff single was followed by two wild pitches, and another single plated a run. Pickerington added three more singles and three stolen bases after that to produce three more runs for a 12-1 lead.
Pickerington scored 30 runs in its two games Saturday, beating Toledo 17-7 in the game prior to Sidney.
Sidney 10, Circleville 2
Post 217, behind the pitching of Daniel Kearns and three hits and four runs batted in from Josh Nixon, rolled to a 10-2 victory over Circleville Saturday morning to advance to the semifinals.
Post 217 scored three in the first and three in the third, with Nixon driving in four with a triple and a single. Three more runs came across in the fifth.
That was more than enough for Kearns, who wasn’t in trouble all day during his seven innings of work. He went six innings before turning it over to fellow Russia teammate Bryant McCarty for the final three frames. The two scattered nine Circleville hits.
“Kearns pitched a great game,” said Koewler. “He’s been good all summer, and he pitched well when we were up in Michigan last week. He did a real good job.”
He got quick support from his teammates, with Post 217 scoring three times in the top of the first.
Wehrman started it with a one-out single and Subler followed with a single to center. That brought up cleanup hitter Nixon and he went to the opposite field and legged out a standup triple, driving in two runs. Cam Clark then followed with a sacrifice fly for a 3-0 lead.
It stayed that way until the third, when Sidney added three more. Wehrman again started it off with a single, and went to third on Subler’s double. Circleville made a pitching change, and the new pitcher was greeted by a two-run single by Nixon. Nixon then scored on a fielder’s choice, for four RBIs and two runs scored in the first three innings.
“I felt like I was trying to do too much in the first couple games,” said Nixon, who just missed a home run in a later at-bat when the ball was just foul down the right field line. “I was pulling out. I just tried to stay in there.”
Sidney wasn’t done yet. Three more runs crossed in the fifth inning, and Nixon started it off with a one-out single. Clark followed with a single, and after a ground out advanced the runners to second and third, Jackson Hobbs delivered a two-run single. He then came around to score on Bollinger’s double.
The final run came home in the eighth when Daniel Berning was hit by a pitch, moved up on a single by Austin McLain, and scored on a single by Wehrman.
Nixon and Wehrman both had three hits for Sidney.
Sidney`303 030 010`10`12`1
C’ville`000 001 010`2`9`2
Kearns (WP), McCarty (7) and Subler; Hemming (LP), Anderson (3), Keaton (5) and Good.
Pick.`084 100 0`13`16`1
Sidney`010 000 0`1`3`2
WP: Green; LP: Wehrman
Reach Ken Barhorst at 937-538-4818