Leadoff hitter Mike Campbell of Winchester Post 21 went 2 for 4 with two triples and an RBI yesterday, but his team could not come up with the victory in the first game of the American Legion 16th District championship, falling to Fredericksburg Post 55, 15-8.
The teams will play a second game today to decide the champion of the double-elimination tournament at Courtland High School in Spotsylvania. Post 21 will have to play without Campbell, whose ejection from yesterday's game yielded a one-game suspension.
Post 55 held a 7-6 lead in the sixth inning. Campbell, who was on third base, represented the tying run, but the Sherando High player was tagged out in a run down at the plate. Home plate umpire Darren Sealy ejected Campbell for dropping his shoulder toward pitcher Bronson Hall when Hall applied the tag.
According to American Legion rules, an ejection automatically triggers a one-game suspension, which Campbell will serve today. Campbell said he was scheduled to be today's starting pitcher.
"I didn't lower my shoulder," Campbell said. "I didn't do anything bad. It was a horrible call."
Post 55 had received a scare earlier in the inning, when J.D. Duchemin injured his right leg after getting it caught under the center field fence after a spectacular catch. But Duchemin stayed in the game, and had an RBI single in the bottom of the inning, when Post 55 scored six runs and solidified its lead.
Duchemin finished the game 3 for 5 with three runs scored.
"It's the second time in two years it's happened to me," Duchemin said. "You just lay there until someone comes and gets you."
The winner of today's game does not have an impact on the Virginia state tournament, which starts on Wednesday and also will be held at Courtland. Because Post 55 (25-2 in the district) is serving as the host site, it received an automatic berth, with another berth reserved for the District 16 team that won the tournament or finished second to Post 55.