Post 1 Claims Area One Title
Bauer Homers, Murray Is Perfect 3-for-3 in Victory
WEIRTON — Wheeling Post 1 has dominated West Virginia American Legion baseball for many years and they get the chance this year to make their state title run four years in a row after utilizing two big innings to win the Area One tournament , 11-2, against Weirton Post 10 on Saturday.
Post 10, the No. 3 seed, advanced to the championship game with a convincing 8-1 win earlier in the day in a loser’s bracket final over second-seeded Moundsville Post 3 behind a two-hit pitching gem by Garrett Brewer.
Plagued by wet field conditions at Weirton’s Ed Bowman Field, tournament officials decided to play the championship game immediately following the loser bracket game and if a second game was necessary it would be played Sunday.
Instead, Post 1 and first-year manager Jon-Michael Brunner begin making plans to play in the state tournament. Brunner was an assistant with Post 1 last year and played in the state tournament in three of the four years he played for Post 1, so he has some state title experience.
“It was a good first year,” said Brunner, whose club will go to Bridgeport with a 33-9 record. “I’m lucky to have a really good group of kids. Coach (Mark Delbrugge) left me with a really solid group of kids that like to show up and play. So I just put nine or 10 guys out there and fortunately so far they’ve all been able to get the job done. It makes coaching pretty easy when you’ve got good kids like that.”
Post 10 took the lead with a run in the top of the first inning as Jacob Rosnick sent Sebastian Spencer home with a single.
Brunner’s club jumped on Post 10 right-hander Cody Tate in the bottom half of the first scoring five first inning runs, all with two outs.
Jacob “Butter” Murray, who had a perfect three-for-three day at the plate, started the uprising with a single to left field. Following a wild itch and a Post 10 error, Trevor Thomas delivered an RBI single off the Post 10 shortstop’s glove and James Salvatori plated two more with a double to the fence in right center field.
Post 1 catcher Bryce Bauer finished the scoring blitz with a home run over the left-center field fence.
Post 10 got another run in the second inning when Bryson Walls ripped a one-out double off of winning pitcher Jake Auten, who relieved starting pitcher Logan Wells after he was forced to leave the game in the first inning with an injury. With Walls on second and two outs, Auten hit Spencer with a pitch and walked Elijah Gillette to load the bases. He then hit Joey Dawson with a pitch to drive in the second and final Post 10 run.
Auten settled down after that and limited Weirton to a couple of singles in the fifth inning but was able to work out of that jam. Ben Taylor retired the side in order in the top of the seventh.
Post 1 matched the Weirton run in the second inning with a Murray single that plated Ross Salvatori, who had singled to open the bottom of the second inning. Then, Murray scored another run in the fourth. He laced a one out double off the fence in left center and scored on Thomas’ fielder’s choice grounder.
Post 10 hung around as Tate kept working out of trouble, but Post 1 put the game away with a four run uprising in the sixth inning. Post 10 aided the cause with two errors (they had four in the game) and Jacob Shia and Jack Kahle delivered RBI singles.
“Auten came in and pitched pretty well,” said Post 10 coach Jason Swartzmiller, whose club finished the season at 8-19. “We had some opportunities but couldn’t capitalize on them. I thought Cody pitched well. He worked his way out of some trouble and got a lot of ground balls. They hurt us in the first and sixth innings but we hung in there as best we could. Wheeling has a very good team and I’m proud of my kids for getting through the loser’s bracket to get here to play for the Area One championship.
“We have a lot of young kids that will form a strong nucleus for us next year. We had a couple of losing streaks but I think our team improved as we went along and they really battled in this Area 1 tournament. I’m proud of them.”
Post 10 got to the title game with a victory against Moundsville Post 3, which had downed Weirton 11-1 in the tournament opener for both teams on Thursday.
The Post 10 batters got off to a slow start as Moundsville starting pitcher Noah Neeley mowed them down in order the first two innings.
Garrett Brewer did some mowing of his own as he shut out Post 3 on one hit through the first four innings. Moundsville scored it’s lone run in the fifth inning without a hit. Jacob Varner reached on a throwing error that allowed him to go to second base. He advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch.
B.B. Santamarino got both Post 3 hits but Brewer was in command all the way. He struck out 12 and walked only two.
Ohio State Tournament
Jefferson County 5
LANCASTER — Jefferson County Post 33’s season came to an end with a loss to Circleville Post 134. Jefferson County finishes the Ohio American Legion Baseball Tournament in fourth place, and it’s season with a 25-21 record.
“The record might not have been as great as people would have thought, but the kids loved it,” Jefferson County manager Anthony Pierro said. “They loved traveling and playing baseball with one another.
“We came in fourth place in the whole state of Ohio. I think that is a pretty big accomplishment in my book. The kids were upset it wasn’t first, but it was a heck-of-a year and a heck-of-a run for a bunch of kids that didn’t really know each other at the start to come together.”
Post 33 fell behind 7-0 before getting on the board in the top of the fifth inning. Trailing 8-1, Jefferson County rallied for three runs in the sixth to cut the deficit to 8-4. Jefferson County loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh and scored another run to get within three, but it could not get any more runs across.
Michael Pierro recorded a pair of singles for Jefferson County. Tristan Haught also had two hits and an RBI. Connor Hyndman doubled, while Joey Nave and Anthony Sinicropi each drove in runs.