It only took Springfield Post 176 and Centreville Post 1995 one day to finish their game this time around, but it will take another day to decide who will be crowned American Legion District 17 baseball champion.
Jeremy Borchers hit a leadoff home run and Andy Jewell went 4 for 6 as Post 176 took advantage of the short right field fence at Oakton High School last night to defeat Post 1995, 13-4. With the victory, Post 176 forced a final game at 1 today at Oakton to decide the district title.
The teams met in the winner's bracket final on Tuesday, but the game was suspended after the 11th inning with the scored tied at 8. The game was resumed Wednesday afternoon and Post 1995 scored the winning run in the 12th inning to win, 9-8.
"We played so hard last game to come back and just hold the tie, and it was really hard to lose like we did," Jewell said. "Today we knew we had to come out strong from the beginning."
Post 1995 had a chance to wrap up the championship last night, but starting pitcher Jake Fiedler ran into an explosive Post 176 offense. Every batter in the starting lineup got a hit, and all but one scored.
Borchers hit Fiedler's first pitch of the game just over the 280-foot sign in right field to give Post 176 the early lead, and the team scored four times in the third to take a 5-0 lead.
Jewell entered the game leading Post 176 with a .368 batting average, two points higher than Borchers's .366. Jewell's sixth-inning RBI double gave him a team-leading 30 RBI and was one of five doubles by Post 176 to hit the right field fence on the fly.
Post 176--which defeated McLean Post 270, 1-0, on Thursday in the loser's bracket final to qualify for the championship game--led by eight in the sixth inning. Andrew Dantzig made sure it stayed that way, pitching a complete game.
While the game on the field was clean, the fans in the stands--made up mostly of parents--was not. Several loud exchanges occurred among the teams' fans, and Post 176 Manager Al Baxmonski, at an umpire's request, had to leave the first base dugout to quiet a fan.
"The fans are human, too," Baxmonski said. "The passion of the game pulls something out of all of us--sometimes it's good and sometimes it's bad."