Remington Post 280 scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to preserve a 9-4 victory over host Post 11 in the American Legion sectional Friday night at Loeb Stadium.
The loss puts Lafayette Post 11 into the loser’s bracket in the double-elimination tournament, forcing the host team to win two games in Saturday’s elimination rounds to reach the finals on Sunday.
While Post 11 collected 12 hits off Remington starter Hunter Gladish and actually held an early 2-0 lead, five errors came back to haunt Lafayette and Remington roared back with four runs in the fifth inning and another in the sixth.
“We had some errors, but it was some of everything,” said Post 11 manager Dan Yeoman. “Andrew (Hubertz) walked a couple of guys and went deep in the count when he could have helped himself with strikes early. It’s no one person. There were a lot of people involved.”
Gladish went the distance for Post 280, which allowed Remington to save pitchers, including ace Riley Benner, for Saturday and Sunday.
“When you’re playing in a double-elimination tournament, the key is to stay in the winner’s bracket or you’re going to burn up a lot of arms pitching,” said Remington manager Craig LeBeau. “That’s our goal tomorrow. That’s what we’re shooting for, to stay in the winner’s bracket.”
Post 11, down 5-2 in the eighth inning, fought back with some timely hitting. Justin Curry singled with one out and Hubertz knocked him in with the game’s only extra-base hit, a double to left. Hubertz scored on Thomas Fisher’s two-out single to center.
Dominick Emerson followed with a single and Pete Metzinger reached first on a Benner fielding error at third to load the bases, but Gladish got Vernon Fisher to pop out to second to end the threat.
Remington then added four runs in the bottom of the eighth to all but put the game out of reach against reliever Mark Fisher, who came in for starter Hubertz.
John O’Malley was hit by a pitch with one out and Chad Schultz followed with a single. Benner walked to load the bases and cleanup batter Brandon Gallinger punched a single through the middle of the diamond to score two runs.
Kyle Mikesell’s sacrifice bunt plated Benner and a Hubertz throwing error at third scored Gallinger.
“We were so close, but we just shot ourselves in the foot with the errors,” Hubertz said. “Now just have to work hard to get to the next level. You just have to keep playing through it, knowing that your defense will get that final out for you.
“We had some good momentum in the eighth inning, but against a good team you have to be able to carry that momentum out,” Hubertz added. “We have to do it on both sides of the ball, and we just struggled on the defensive end tonight.”
LeBeau said Gladish has pitched better for them, but his competitive nature kept him sharp enough to complete the game and put Post 280 in position to reach the finals.
“I can’t say it was his best game, but it was a very good game for him,” LeBeau said of Gladish. “He’s played against most of these kids for four years. He knows them, and they know him. He’s such a competitor, and he’s a kid who is tough to beat. He’s going to battle you to the end, and that’s what he did tonight.”
Yeoman said Post 11 knows it all comes down to erasing Friday’s loss from memory and concentrating on Saturday’s contests if it wants to advance.
“I can’t be their cheerleader,” Yeoman said. “I told them they have to put it behind them and come ready to play two games. We’ve got to win two to be in the championship game on Sunday, and that’s just the way it is. We have to do whatever it takes to win the first one, and we’ll go from there.”