August 2 - Two area teams will play for the American Legion state championship tomorrow in Lynchburg.
After weather postponed their game last night, Warrenton Post 72 West eliminated Leesburg Post 34 this morning with a 10-3 victory. The loss was the second straight for Leesburg (16-7), which dropped a 5-1 decision to Vienna Post 180 yesterday afternoon.
Warrenton (19-3), meanwhile, clinched a berth in tomorrow’s championship round after Vienna (30-2) knocked out Colonial Heights Post 284 with a 13-0 win this morning. The two Northern Virginia teams will now meet in tomorrow’s final at 9:30 a.m., followed by a playback game if Post 72 West were to beat the defending state champions.
Post 180 won an earlier matchup between the two teams, 10-0, on the opening day of the tournament, forcing Warrenton to go through the loser’s bracket to advance to the final. Vienna manager Nick Good, however, feels the teams are more evenly-matched than that outcome might indicate.
“I don’t think there’s that much difference between the teams,” Good said. “I told [Warrenton manager Kevin Lee] after, ‘We’ll see you in the final’, and sure enough that’s how it ended up.”
In this morning’s first contest, which picked up in the sixth inning after last night’s rain forced its postponement, Warrenton got another big game from former Fauquier standout Blaze O’Saben, a rising sophomore at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and 2018 NOVA Nine Team selection. O’Saben was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI and has accounted for four hits and six RBI over the past two games after going hitless in the first two contests.
“It’s always nice to be in a championship, especially after dropping the first game,” O’Saben said. “We’re all just excited to play Vienna again and hopefully put up a ‘W’ this time. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow.”
Caden DeCroo (Kettle Run), Carter Cunningham (Battlefield) and Craig Miles (Battlefield) also had two hits for Post 72 West. John Marquart (Loudoun Valley) was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI and Connor Miller (Loudoun Valley) also had three hits to lead Post 34.
In this morning’s second game, Josh Gjormand (Madison) and Eric Lingebach (Oakton) paced a 14-hit attack for Post 180, which has won 11 straight games and has posted two shutouts while out-scoring its opponents, 33-4, at the tournament. Gjormand was 3-for-4 with a walk, double and three RBI and Lingebach was 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI. He has six hits over the past two games, five that have gone for extra bases.
“Lingebah’s getting hot again and we’re starting to hit the ball,” said Good, who added that playing at the larger minor league park has had an effect on his team. Vienna clubbed 32 home runs in its 28 games prior to the state tournament, but hasn’t homered this week. “This is a huge ballpark. [Lingebach]’s last ball he hit, the guy caught it 380 feet away. And Avery [Neaves] hit one to the warning track as well.”
L.A. Rice (Flint Hill) went five innings to earn the decision in today’s win, scattering three hits on 62 pitches. Vienna’s starters have gone at least five innings in all four games, recording 21 strikeouts while allowing just four runs (one earned) in 23.2 innings.
Notes: Braden Huebsch (South Lakes), who pitched five shutout innings in the opener against Post 72 West, will get the ball tomorrow morning, Good said. Nathan Mabe (Kettle Run) is the probable starter for Warrenton … Offensive leaders among area players at the tournament include: Leesburg’s Marquart, who was 7-for-15 (.467) with two doubles; Warrenton’s Cunningham (6-for-12 (.500), 3 RBI) and Carson McCusker (6-for-14 (.429), 5 RBI); Vienna’s Lingebach (6-for-15 (.400), 6 RBI) and Allen Yager (5-for-11 (.455), 3 RBI); and McLean’s Jackson Kantor (5-for-7 (.714), RBI), who finished the summer with a 27-game hitting streak … Post 72 West assistant coach Jason DeCroo was ejected last night and ineligible to coach the remainder of the tournament … Post 180 is seeking its second straight state title and its sixth overall, having previously won in 1970, 1971, 1987 and 1990 prior to last year’s championship. Warrenton is playing in the state tournament for the first time since 1987 and is seeking its first title.
Day 1 Games (Tuesday, July 30)
Game #1: Vienna 10, Warrenton 0
Game #2: Leesburg 12, Albemarle 4
Game #3: Rocky Mount 9, McLean 4
Game #4: Lynchburg 6, Colonial Heights 2
Day 2 Games (Wednesday, July 31)
Game #5: Warrenton 5, McLean 1*
Game #6: Colonial Heights 15, Albemarle 1*
Game #7: Vienna 5, Rocky Mount 3
Game #8: Leesburg 15, Lynchburg 2
Day 3 Games (Thursday, Aug. 1)
Game #9: Colonial Heights 10, Rocky Mount 1*
Game #10: Warrenton 8, Lynchburg 6*
Game #11: Vienna 5, Leesburg 1
Day 4 Games (Friday, Aug. 2)
Game #12: Warrenton 10, Leesburg 3*
Game #13: Vienna 13, Colonial Heights 0*
Day 5 Games (Saturday, Aug. 3)
Game #14: Winner #12 vs. Winner #13, 9:30 a.m.
Game #15: Winner #14 vs. Loser #14 (if necessary)
Photos of Vienna manager Nick Good, left, by Joey Kamide and Warrenton manager Kevin Lee, right, courtesy of Post 72 West Baseball