^pFrom STAFF REPORTS
ASHEBORO, N.C. – Two-time reigning Virginia state champion Vienna Post 180 had everything to lose and a berth in the American Legion Baseball World Series to gain Sunday.
The World Series berth remains elusive for Post 180 as it was claimed by Randolph County (North Carolina) Post 45 for a third straight year.
Post 180 entered play in the Mid-Atlantic Region tournament as the only remaining undefeated team and needed just one win to extend its season.
But a 36-win campaign ended with back-back losses to Post 45, 3-0 and 3-2.
Post 45 (37-10) moves on to the World Series for the third year in a row, but this is the first time it will represent the Mid-Atlantic Region; in 2017 and 2018 Post 45 was the qualifier from the Southeast Region.
Post 45’s first game in the World Series is Thursday in Shelby, North Carolina against the Northeast Region champion at 7:30 p.m. It’s the last of four games scheduled, all of which are set to be televised on ESPN 3.
Post 180 (36-4) saw a 16-game winning streak end with the shut-out loss. That streak of success included 13 postseason wins, highlighted by undefeated runs through its district and state tournaments and four regional tournament victories, including a 6-2 triumph over Post 45.
One of those postseason wins was over Rocky Mount Post 6, 5-3, in a winner’s bracket match-up in a state tournament game played at Lynchburg City Stadium/Calvin Falwell Field.
In the championship game, Post 45 manufactured three runs in its half of the fourth inning to build a lead it would not surrender.
Post 180 scored once in its half of the fourth, but left two runners on base.
Post 180 scored its final run in the last of the sixth. In the seventh, it stranded the tying run at third.
Post 180 outhit Post 45, 8-5, but it was hurt by two errors, while Post 45 committed one defensive miscue.
Post 45’s 3-0 win was achieved with a two-run rally in the top of the first inning and one-run third frame.
Post 45 collected six hits and played error-free defense.
Post 180, which was held to two hits and committed two errors, draws its players from three high schools: Oakton, James Madison and South Lakes.