August 3 - Braden Huebsch went the distance as Vienna Post 180 jumped to a 4-0 first-inning lead and held on to beat Warrenton Post 72 West, 6-4, in the American Legion state final today in Lynchburg.
Huebsch, an All-Liberty District selection as a senior this spring at South Lakes, worked around 10 hits and settled down after Warrenton (19-4) drew to within 4-3 in the second inning. He’d work around a base runner in each of the next four frames, getting Billy Hoad (Brentsville District) to ground into a double play to end the sixth and striking out Carter Cunningham (Battlefield) with a runner on to end the game.
The state championship is the second straight and sixth overall for Vienna (32-2), which has won its last 12 games.
“I just can’t say enough about Braden, he’s just so calm under pressure,” Post 180 manager Nick Good said. “He’s been so key for us down the stretch. He just hung in there.”
Huebsch, who tossed five shutout innings in a 10-0 win over Post 72 West in the tournament opener on Tuesday, improved to 7-0 this summer. He finished with five strikeouts and two walks while being charged for three runs.
“I feel like we’ve just started playing our best all-around baseball,” said Vienna leadoff man Josh Gjormand, who was 2-for-3 with three runs today and finished the tournament 7-for-17 with nine runs and three RBI. “Everyone seems to be heating up at the right time, not only at the plate but in the field and on the mound as well.”
Vienna’s Allen Yager (Oakton) and Jimmy Clark (Paul VI Catholic) each went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Avery Neaves (South Lakes) added two hits. Yager was named the tournament’s most valuable player after going 7-for-15 with four RBI. Warrenton got two hits apiece from Cunningham and Mason Posey (Brentsville District), while Nathan Mabe (Kettle Run) took the loss after allowing five runs on seven hits in five innings.
Post 180’s starters posted a 0.91 ERA at the tournament, permitted just eight runs (four earned) in 30.2 innings. “The tournament is such a testament to pitching,” Good said. “You have to play five days in a row, and we were fortunate to keep Huebsch under 80 [pitches on Tuesday] so he could pitch the championship game.”
Post 180 advances to the Mid-Atlantic Regionals next week in Asheboro, N.C. It will open the double-elimination tournament on Wednesday against Brooklawn (N.J.) Post 72, which is 27-10-1 and on Wednesday claimed its 30th state title since 1954.
Other teams clinching berths to the regional are Canal (DE) Post 25, Wilmington (N.C.) Post 10, Hamburg (N.Y.) Post 527, Funkstown (MD) Post 211 and host Randolph County (N.C.) Post 45. The state champion from West Virginia will be determined in tomorrow’s final between Berkeley Post 14 and Morgantown Post 2.
“Every guy knows their role and embraces it and that’s a huge reason for the success we’ve had so far,” Gjormand said. “When you get a team with this kind of chemistry and heart, it’s hard to beat.”
Notes: Vienna has posted back-to-back 30-win seasons and has won 61 of 68 games over the past two seasons … Eric Lingebach (Oakton) set a new Post 180 single-season record, driving in two runs today to give him 61 RBI this season. That surpassed the previous mark set by Chris Burr in 1988 … Neaves’ fourth-inning double was his 15th of the summer, tying the club record set by Burr in 1988 and matched by Steve Paasch in 1990 … Good left impressed by the officials and grounds crew at City Stadium, the home of the Single-A Lynchburg Hillcats. “What a nice venue,” he said. “We got the total pro experience, they put on a fantastic tournament.” … Post 180 could get Justin Taylor (Flint Hill) back next week after missing the past couple weeks with an injury. A rising sophomore at Cornell University, Taylor was an integral part of the team’s state title run last summer.
Photo of Braden Huebsch courtesy of Vienna Post 180 Baseball