Three games in just over 24 hours proved to be too much baseball for Springfield Post 176, as tough opposing pitching and five errors led to an 8-6 loss to Poquoson Post 273 today in the Virginia American Legion state tournament losers' bracket semifinal game at Courtland High School.
After defeating Churchland Post 310, 17-1, Thursday morning, Springfield took the field again at 1 p.m. today and defeated Fredericksburg Post 55, 14-9. After an hour break, Springfield was back at it at 5 p.m. in muggy conditions and showed its fatigue.
Poquoson took a 2-0 lead on a fielding error by first baseman Jeremy Borchers in the top of the second inning. After Springfield tied the game in the bottom of the fourth, Poquoson took the lead for good on a couple of Springfield errors in the fifth.
After Poquoson leadoff hitter Antoine Tucker reached on a bunt and third baseman Grayson Brunting followed with a single, Todd Goodson laid down a bunt in front of the pitcher's mound.
Springfield pitcher Richard Riley fielded the bunt and threw wildly to first, allowing Tucker to score from third. On the same play, Borchers threw in the dirt to third, scoring Brunting. Two more run-scoring singles gave Poquoson a 6-2 lead.
"Unfortunately, we gave away one too many runs, and couldn't catch up with these guys," said Springfield Coach Al Vaxmonsky. "[Playing so often] builds character. It showed these kids' fatigue is an element and you have to deal with it. They have to be physically prepared and mentally prepared."
To its credit, Springfield never gave up and rallied for three runs in the eighth inning to cut Poquoson's lead to 8-6 with no outs.
Poquoson reliever Chris Forys came in to retire the next three batters to end the rally.
"Our kids never ever feel they are out of the game until the last out," Vaxmonsky said.
Tim Grant went 2 for 4 with three RBI. Riley, normally Springfield's No. 5 pitcher, went 5 2/3 innings and yielded three earned runs.
In another losers' bracket game today, Winchester Post 21 fell to Holloway-Moore Post 273, 5-2. Winchester was eliminated from the tournament with a 1-2 record.