The outlook went from bleak to promising for the Cissel Saxon Post 41 American Legion baseball team on Wednesday. But the club finished the day and its season with disappointment: a 10-8 loss to Columbia Post 300 in an elimination game at the Maryland American Legion state tournament in Frederick.
“We just kind of let up a little bit,” said Post 41's Andy McWilliams, who went 2 for 3 with two runs batted in and a home run. “We thought we had it and then they just got hit after hit after hit and it just hurt us ... but it was fun. I had a great time.”
Trailing 2-0 through 3 1/2 innings on a sacrifice fly in the first and then a home run in the top of the fourth by Garrett Kurtz, things started to look even worse for Cissel Saxon in the top of the fourth when starting pitcher Jamie Dejter left the game with an injury with two on and two out.
Eric Lowe came on in relief and walked the first batter he faced to load the bases, but he worked out of the jam by inducing a groundout. Using the momentum gained from that stop, Cissel Saxon rallied for five runs. McWilliams hit a solo homer, Jimmy Brockett delivered a two-run single, Chase Hunt had an RBI single, and Brian Alexa brought home a run with a suicide squeeze bunt.
“We just didn't finish it off,” said Post 41 pitcher-second baseman Max Shannon. “We didn't step on their neck when we had to, we let them hang around. They just kept battling and took it from us.”
Post 41 increased its advantage to 8-2 in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run triple by Brian Battaglia and a run-scoring groundout by McWilliams, but Columbia began its game-winning comeback with five runs in the top of the seventh on four hits, including a pair of doubles, a walk and an error.
Post 300 capped its game-winning rally with three runs in the top of the ninth on a bases-loaded walk by Brandon Feuerman to tie the score and then a two-run single by Colin Dyer against Shannon for a 10-8 lead. Post 41 went down in order in the bottom of the ninth against Kurtz, who relieved an injured Ariean Vedadi, who hurt his leg during the between innings warm-ups in the eighth.
“One of our players got hurt [Ben Koffel in the seventh, sliding into home plate] — dislocated his shoulder — so we just played this one for him, just got down and pulled it out,” Kurtz said.
Columbia 300 10, Cissel Saxon Post 41 8
Columbia 1 0 0 1 0 0 5 0 3 — 10 12 2
Cissel Saxon 0 0 0 5 0 3 0 0 0 — 8 13 1
WP — Garrett Kurtz. LP — Max Shannon. 2B: Columbia — Ariean Vedadi, Erik Sackandy, Jared Lacey. 3B: Cissel Saxon — Brian Battaglia. HR: Columbia — Garrett Kurtz. Cissel Saxon — Andy McWilliams. RBI: Columbia — Garrett Kurtz 2, Colin Dyer 2, Jared Lacey, Ariean Vedadi, Erik Sackandy, Brett Kohler, Brandon Feuerman. Cissel Saxon — Jimmy Brockett 2, Brian Battaglia 2, Andy McWilliams 2, Chase Hunt, Brian Alexa.