CHILLICOTHE – Greenville Legion Post 140 lost a squeaker to the Jadwin Memorial Tournament champions, Ida Post 514 from Ida, Michigan, in an extra-inning shootout.
A game that was tied 6-6 at the end of regulation play, tournament rules called for a shootout with each inning beginning with a runner on second with no outs and each batter coming to the plate with a 3-2 count. Ida used a sacrifice fly to push a run across to take the 7-6 win.
“Seven-six … that was a heart breaker,” Greenville American Legion Post 140 head coach Dr. Thomas Martinez said. “That one hurt. The team that we lost 7-6 to ended up winning the tournament. They are a tough team out of Michigan.”
Ida Post 514 put two runs on the board in the top of the first inning.
Not to be outdone Greenville Legion Post 140 plated two runs in the bottom of the inning with Cole Burrell (Arcanum) driving a leadoff single to right-center and advanced to second on a passed ball.
Hitting in the two hole, Cole Ward (Greenville) lined an RBI single to center to score Burrell followed with a Carson Stump (Mississinawa Valley) single to left with Ward moving to second.
With Ward and Stump moving on the pitch in a double steal attempt, Post 514 was called for a balk with the runners safe at second and third.
A one-out sacrifice fly off the bat of Austin Reedy (Piqua) sent Ward sliding safely home with the tying run and Ida coming to the plate.
Pitching for Post 140, Burrell picked up his second strikeout of the game in the top of the second while Ida was taking a 3-2 lead with an unearned run.
“Cole Burrell had been pitching very well,” Martinez said. “He was throwing strikes, throwing to his defense.”
Greenville plated four runs in the bottom of the second, starting with a leadoff Jamie Riffel (Houston) double in the gap.
A Brad Caudill (Fairlawn) single to left moved Riffel to third. Caudill swiped second, putting runners on second and third, followed with a walk to Logan Elmore (Tri-County North) loading the bases with no outs.
“Caudill is coming out of his shell,” Martinez said. ”He’s also our No. 3 starter and he has been pitching very well. His confidence at the mound is coming across as confidence at the plate and confidence at third base. Brad’s been big at stepping up at third base.”
A passed ball with Burrell at the plate scored Riffle from third, knotting the score at 3-3 before a Burrell walk filled the bases.
Ward laced a single to center, knocking in two RBI, scoring Caudill and Elmore to give Post 140 a 5-3 lead and bringing an Ida pitching change.
“Cole Ward’s baseball IQ is up there with the smartest of my players, and he knows when he has a pitcher he can hit,” Martinez said. “He’s going to hit.”
Saving its ace pitcher for the tournament finals, Ida was forced to bring its ace to the mound with no outs in the inning.
“We started out the season with the goal to be competitive, and we are very competitive,” Martinez said. “They had to bring out their ace, a scholarship player for Bowling Green.”
A sacrifice fly off the bat of Stump to center scored Burrell with Ward advancing to third, giving Greenville a 6-3 lead.
Ida stranded an opening double followed with three consecutive outs with fly balls to Ward in left, Elmore in right and a popup in foul ground to Tanner Maples (Tri-Village) at first.
Post 140 got a two-out Caudill single for the only base runner in the bottom of the third inning.
Post 514 picked up a run in the top of the fourth to close the score to 6-4 with Greenville coming to bat in the bottom of the inning.
A one-out Cole Ward single and a steal of second was stranded with a popup to first and a fly to left.
Ida opened fifth inning play with an infield single only to be picked off on a perfect throw from Post 140 catcher Austin Baker (Arcanum) to Maples covering first for out No. 1.
A walk was followed with Stump and Ward tracking down fly balls in center and left keeping Post 140 up 6-4.
Unable to do any damage in the bottom of the fifth, the teams headed to the final inning of play.
Ida got an opening single to right followed with an Austin Weimer (Greenville) strikeout followed with a passed ball moving the runner to second.
Post 514 knocked a single to left with Burrell coming up throwing to Caudill, turning and throwing a strike to Baker at the plate for the second out of the inning.
A single to center and a bloop single to left plated two runs tying the score at 6-6 with the final out of the inning coming on a popup to Maples at first, setting up the shootout with Ada hanging on for a 7-6 win over Post 140.
For the game, Ward reached base four time in four plate appearances, going 3-for-3 with a walk while collecting three RBI and a run scored.
“Cole Ward, I can’t say enough good things about this young man,” Martinez said. “He took a shot to the rib cage, an 87-88 mph fastball that hit him in the ribcage the game before. I move him to outfield just because I wanted to make certain he had the mobility that was necessary to get him back to his normal shortstop position, and he toughed through it all.
“At one point in time in this tournament he had been hit seven times so he (Ward) was getting on base,” Martinez continued. “He had quite a few stolen bases this weekend as well. He didn’t let the injury cause him any letdown. He didn’t go up there with any fear in his eyes. Against a fast ball he would drive it to the opposite field, and he would be standing on first base and quickly steal second for me and put us in a position where he could score.”
Caudill was 2-for-3 at the plate scoring a run. Reedy went 1-for-2 with a RBI while Stump collected a RBI, going 1-for-3 on the day.
Burrell had two runs scored, going 1-for-3 with a walk. Riffle was 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored.
“We are a very competitive team. Our record may not reflect that, but if you look at our statistics, look at the box scores, you can see that we have been in every ballgame,” Martinez said. “We promised to bring a good product to Greenville, and I have to say with the help of Chris Ward, Eric Blumenstock, all of the Legion members, board members in Greenville, we have done just that. We have brought competitive baseball back to Greenville.”