LYNCHBURG — A two-out error by Rocky Mount Post 6 with the bases loaded in the top of the second inning Wednesday resulted in a deficit the District F champion was unable to overcome.
Vienna Post 180 cleared the bases on the plate to turn a 1-1 stalemate into a four-run advantage en route to a 5-3 victory over Post 6 in a winner’s bracket match-up in the 2019 Virginia State American Legion Baseball Seniors tournament at Lynchburg City Stadium/Calvin Falwell Field.
The loss ends an eight-game winning streak by Post 6 (12-3) and places Rocky Mount in the loser’s bracket and facing elimination.
Post 6 played Colonial Heights Post 284, which lost its tournament opener before eliminating past multi-time state champion Albemarle Post 74 Wednesday.
Post 180, the reigning state champion, played Leesburg Post 34, last year’s Mid-Atlantic Region runner-up, in the last game of Thursday’s scheduled tripleheader, the winner’s bracket finals.
Post 6 did rally for two runs in the bottom of the sixth and it brought the tying run to the plate with two outs in the last of the seventh.
But with right fielder Easton Forbes at second base, the rally died when second baseman Logan Mason was unable to beat out a grounder to shortstop — he lost a sprint against the relay throw by about half a step.
The contest turned in Post 180’s favor with two outs in the top of the second.
Post 6 starter Will Turner, who was tagged with the loss, yielded inning-opening base hits to Allen Yager and James Clark, then rebounded to strike out Larry Rice and Braden Huebsch.
But Turner placed himself in peril by walking lead-off batter Josh Gjormand to load the bases.
Next, second baseman Ryan Dooley stroked a single to left field to drive in a run, but the ball was misplayed by Post 6 left fielder Matthew Holley. By the time the play ended, Dooley had cleaned the bases. He finished the play by sliding past Post 6 catcher Hunter Cannaday for what would be Post 180’s final run.
Post 180 managed only three hits and placed four runners on base thereafter.
Turner departed the mound in favor of right-hander Jacob Moureau with two outs in the last of the fourth.
Moureau toed the rubber until the top of the seventh when he was replaced by right-hander Davis Ferguson with two outs.
Ferguson closed out the frame by coaxing Post 180 batter William Neaves to view a called third strike.
Neaves was Post 6’s sixth strike-out victim: Turner fanned four; Moureau fanned one.
The Turner-Moureau-Ferguson trio permitted only one walk.
Gjormand, a left-hander, earned the victory by tossing a complete-game, six-hitter. He walked three, hit a batter, was charged with a balk and struck out seven.
Gjormand threw 105 pitches, 65 of which were strikes. He faced 29 batters, retiring two by ground out and nine by fly out.
Post 180 took a 1-0 in the top of the first, courtesy of Eric Lingebach’s sacrifice fly.
Post 6 squared the count in the bottom of the frame when Forbes scored from second on a one-out double to right field by designed hitter Grayson Chitwood.
Post 6 left the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth before scoring twice in the last of the sixth.
In the frame, Chitwood walked and was awarded second on a balk. With one out, he swiped third following a walk to Jared Wright. A throwing error by Post 180’s catcher enabled Chitwood to slide feet first across the plate.
Wright would score on a base hit by Cannaday to make the count 5-3.
The rally would soon die.
With Holley at the plate, Cannaday got caught a run down between first and second and was retired. Post 6 manager Aaron Haigler thought Gjormand should have charged with a second balk, but his protest was to no avail.
Holley would reach base when Post 180’s right fielder dropped a fly ball off of his bat, but he was thrown out trying to steal second to end the inning.
All eight of Post 180’s hits were singles.
Neaves paced Post 180 with two hits, while Gjormand, Yager, James Clark, Dooley, Larry Rice and Zach Perkins each had one.
Perkins and Jimmy Clark each stole a base.
Cannaday (RBI) led Post 6 with two hits, while Chitwood (double, RBI), Forbes (double), Mason and Holley each recorded a hit.
Forbes was hit by a pitch, Chitwood stole a base and Mason and Holley were caught stealing.
Each team committed two errors.