MORGANTOWN – The 2023 American Legion Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament kicked off Wednesday in Morgantown on Dale Miller Field at Mylan Park, hosted by Morgantown Post 2.
In the fourth and final game of the opening day, the hosts fell to the state champions from Delaware, Post 1, 4-2 in a back-and-forth defensive battle. Morgantown (24-14) will now face Paxton Post 730, the state champions from Pa., in an elimination game today at 1:00 p.m.
Both teams opened the game finding success at the plate, each scoring a pair of runs in the first inning.
After a leadoff walk by Post 2 starter Zach Harman, an error in the infield followed on a potential double play groundball. Post 1 took advantage, opening the scoring on a double to center field. The second run of the frame came on a fielder’s choice to second base.
Harman got some assistance from third baseman Aaron Forbes getting out of the inning as the Salem sophomore snagged a line drive that caught everyone by surprise, out of the air before diving to tag the unsuspecting runner out before he could tag up at third.
The hosts came to their first at-bat and after an unlucky bounce off of the third base bag that resulted in a leadoff out, two singles and two walks yielded the first run for Morgantown. Caleb Cottle and Forbes each produced a base hit, making way for Drew Bailey and Tommy Montague to draw walks, the latter coming with the bases loaded and automatically bringing Cottle home.
The very next batter, a pickoff attempt to second base was thrown into the outfield and allowed Forbes to tie the game at two.
“Every chance that you have to get someone on and get them moved over that’s what you have to do,” Post 2 head coach Andy Altemus said. “We know who we are and need to remember that and play how we can and things can happen.”
The next four innings saw no runs for either team as each pitcher continued to throw strikes and pile on the outs. Some nice defensive work for both sides, combined with the calming of nerves for both starters, saw what looked to be a high-scoring game turn into an old-fashioned duel.
“They were pounding the zone tonight,” Altemus said. “They were throwing strikes and making the plays behind the mound as well.”
After four scoreless innings, Delaware found its breakthrough when third baseman Tyler Pirung took advantage of a hanging curveball and sent it over the left field fence, giving Post 1 the go-ahead run and a 3-2 lead.
The very next batter sent a high fly ball into right field that was missed by the outfield, allowing the fourth run of the night for the Delaware state champions.
“We let it slip away last week at states,” Altemus said. “Every game now is win or go home and I think we are too good to let it go this way and we will come back tomorrow ready to go and ready to find out who we want to be.”
Wilmington 4, Morgantown 2
Wilmington 200 002 0 – 4 6 3
Morgantown 200 000 0 – 2 4 2
Morgantown – Thomas 4000, Cottle 4110, Forbes 4110, Bailey 2000, Montague 2011, Walters 2000, Whanger 2010, Cash 3000, Dorkins 3000
Wilmington – Mosher 3110, Quinn 3110, Pirung 2122, Reader 3111, Walmsley 2000, Abdulla 3010, Satterfield 3000, Fleming 3000, Cameron 3000