Sterling reputations are on the line in American Legion State Seniors tournament

Rocky Mount Post 6 pitcher/infielder Cameron Mullins confers with Post 6 manager Aaron Haigler during a break in the action of a recent game. Post 6 is competing in the Virginia American Legion State Seniors Baseball tournament this week in Lynchburg. Mullins is one of five Post 6 players who has made a non-binding commitment to continue his baseball career in the NCAA Division III Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) at Emory and Henry College. The others are Will Turner and Noah Basham at Roanoke College, Davis Ferguson at Hampden-Sydney College and Grayson Chitwood at Ferrum College.

LYNCHBURG — Three teams in this year’s field of eight brought sterling reputations into the Virginia American Legion State Baseball Seniors tournament, which is being contested this week at Lynchburg City Stadium.

Play in the double-elimination tournament began Tuesday with four games.

The tournament runs through Saturday. The winner earns Virginia’s berth in the Mid-Atlantic Region tournament.

District F was represented by reigning champion Rocky Mount Post 6 (11-2), which brought a seven-game winning streak into its first tournament game against McLean Post 270, and tournament host Lynchburg Post 16, the District F champion in 2017 and 2018.

Vienna Post 180 is the reigning state champion and its first match-up was against multi-time state title winner Albemarle Post 74, which defeated Post 6 by one run, 3-2, when the two faced off in the 2015 state tournament in Fredericksburg.

Post 74 won the championship in 2015. At the time, Post 74 was managed by former Ferrum College shortstop Mike Maynard.

Those teams have sterling reputations and resumes, but there is one club in the tournament that outshines both.

Leesburg Post 34 won the Mid-Atlantic Region championship in 2016 and was the runner-up in 2018 after falling to Wilmington (Delaware) Post 1 in the title game.

Post 34 lost its first game in the region playoffs last year, then rallied to win four straight games before falling in the finals.

Post 34 was the host team for the region playoffs.

Post 1 is the reigning American Legion World Series champion. It defeated Last Vegas (Nevada) Post 40, 1-0, in eight innings in the finals of the tournament, which was played in Shelby, North Carolina.

Post 6 is making its first state tournament appearance since 2015 when it finished 2-2.

Of the eight teams in the 2015 field, only Post 6, Post 74 and Post 180 are in this year’s field.

This year marks the third time in Post 6’s history that it has qualified for the state tournament; Post 6 made its inaugural appearance in the 1980s.

Post 6 opened the 2015 tournament with a 4-1 win over Fredericksburg Post 55, then it defeated Williamsburg Post 39, 4-2 in an elimination game before suffering a season-ending setback to Post 55 in a second tournament match-up between the rivals, 9-3.

Post 6 finished the 2015 campaign, Aaron Haigler’s first in his second stint as Rocky Mount’s manager, with a 14-4 record.

Post 6 routed Martinsville Post 42, 11-0, in this year’s District F finals behind the no-hit pitching of right-hander Will Turner. The contest was stopped after 4 1/2 innings of play because of the run rule.

Post 6, the No. 1 seed in the District F tournament, captured the championship in three games: it defeated Post 42 twice and Christiansburg Post 59 once.

Post 6 scored 37 runs in its three runs. Both of its triumphs over Post 42 were stopped before the seventh inning because of the run rule.

Post 16 represented District F as its champion in 2017 and 2018. Last year, Post 16 was eliminated in three games.

JUNIOR LEGION: Lynchburg Post 16 and Martinsville Post 42 are District F’s representatives in the 2019 Virginia American Legion State Baseball Juniors tournament, which begins Wednesday in Fredericksburg.

Post 16, the District F champion, plays its first game at noon against Wilson Post 310.

Post 42, the District F runner-up, faces Lakeside Post 125 in its first game at 4 p.m.

Other first-round match-ups are Spotsylvania Post 320 versus Winchester Post 21 at 9 a.m. and Newport News Post 25 versus Stafford Post 290, the tournament’s host team at 7 p.m.

The double-elimination tournament runs through Sunday.

Post 42 was the sixth seed in the eight-team, double-elimination district tournament that concluded Sunday with a pair of games at Heritage High School in Lynchburg.

Post 42 entered Sunday’s play as the tournament’s only undefeated team, but it dropped a pair of one-run games to Post 16, 7-6 in the first game and 8-7 in the second contest.

Post 42 was responsible for Post 16’s only tournament loss, 5-3, in a game played Saturday at Kiwanis Field in Salem.

Post 42 opened tournament play with a pair of wins over Roanoke Post 3 Cutters (17-8) and Roanoke Post 3 Heat (11-7) in games played at Kiwanis Field. Post 42 defeated Post 3 Heat, 9-1, in a second match-up between the two foes Saturday.

Post 42 (13-10-1) is coached by Magna Vista head baseball coach Sam Suite, a former Ferrum College player.

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