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Post 1 No-Hit In Semifinal

Photo by Cody Nespor Wheeling Post 1 pitcher Chris Vargo delivers to the plate during Sunday’s Beast of the East Tournament.

WELLSBURG — Wheeling Post 1 was one big hit away from playing for a championship, but that big hit never came as they fell to Armory Baseball 1-0 at Brooke High School Sunday in a semifinal matchup for the 34th Edgar Martin Beast of the East Classic.

Armory pitcher Joey Vanzin threw a seven-inning no-hitter, working out of a couple of late jams to keep Post 1 off the board and make Armory’s one-run lead stand up.

Post 1 received a similarly stellar performance on the mound as left-hander Chris Vargo struck out 10 batters in seven innings, allowing just one unearned run in the top of the first.

“Their pitcher kept us off balance for the majority of the game,” Post 1 coach Jon-Michael Brunner said. “Vargo came out and did another great job on the bump for us. We just needed that big hit, we were getting it all weekend.”

Armory threw a runner out at the plate in the bottom of the sixth and worked out of a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the bottom of the seventh to escape with the win.

“It’s happened a lot this season where it gets a little messy at the end, but I just stayed confident in my fielders,” Vanzin said. “That’s the main thing, just staying confident in your fielders to make a play for you.”

Wheeling just could not solve Vanzin, as he allowed just three baserunners in the first five innings.

A student at Chartiers Valley School District near Pittsburgh, Vanzin struck out eight and walked four.

In the bottom of the sixth, Jared Marsh led off the inning by reaching base on an error. Zach Taylor then laid down a sacrifice bunt which was fielded cleanly and thrown to first for the out. Armory’s first baseman then threw the ball to second trying to get Marsh, but and errant throw landed the ball in left field. Marsh never stopped running and was initially waved home by Brunner at third base. A strong throw home from Armory’s left fielder made Brunner throw up a stop sign, but by then Marsh had already rounded the bag and was caught in no-man’s land between third and home. After a little stutter step, he was easily tagged out by Armory’s catcher.

“It was one of those plays where I think he kind of got caught in the middle of it,” Brunner said.

“My heart skipped a beat on that,” Vanzin admitted. “I trust my teammates and he made a great play, like always.”

Post 1 threatened again in the bottom of the seventh with their best scoring chance of the game. An error, walk and hit batter loaded the bases with no outs. Jack Scouvart flied out to shallow centerfield, no deep enough to try and tag up, Xavier Fankhouser struck out swinging and Braydon Kupsky flied out on the first pitch he saw to end the game.

“Bases loaded at the end with no outs, you expect guys to get the ball on the ground but we didn’t, and we didn’t come up with that big hit but we’ll be okay,” Brunner said. “There’s nothing to hang our heads over. Overall I’m proud of these guys, they figured some stuff out and I think they should be excited moving forward for the rest of the year.”

Armory scored its lone run in the top of the first inning after loading the bases with a single, walk and an error. A wild pitch from Vargo got past the catcher and allowed the unearned run to come home.

In the quarterfinal game earlier Sunday morning, Post 1 was also locked in a pitchers’ duel, but this time came out on top, 3-2 over Bruisers Baseball.

Jack Selmon pitched a stellar seven innings, striking out 10 batters while allowing just two hits and two unearned runs.

Post 1 scored three runs in the bottom of the third to take an early lead. Alex Taylor hit a line drive over the second baseman’s head to score a pair of runs and Scouvart drove him in one batter later for the 3-0 advantage.

The Bruisers took advantage of two errors to respond with two runs in the top of the fourth, but that was all they would get off of Selmon as he allowed just one baserunner over the final three innings while striking out four.

“I’m impressed with their resiliency,” Brunner said of his team. “There weren’t any easy games throughout the weekend, every team we played was tough.”

Post 1 finishes with a 7-1 record in the Beast of the East and entered Sunday’s playoffs as the top seed in the tournament.

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