LANCASTER — A newcomer to the 8th District Tournament bracket ended Athens Post 21’s season.
Post 21 went 1-2 over the weekend in the Ohio American Legion 8th District Tournament, held at Lancaster’s Beavers Field.
Utica Post 92 handed Athens both of its losses. Post 92 is competing in the 8th District Tournament this season due to not enough teams competing in its normal 4th District Tournament.
Utica, the No. 6 seed, defeated No. 3 Athens 5-3 during Saturday’s tournament opener.
Athens then defeated McArthur Post 303, 4-3, to say alive. Utica lost to Lancaster Post 11, 11-10, to fall down into the loser’s bracket.
Athens and Utica played again, with Post 92 winning 11-8 on Sunday.
In Saturday’s opener, Post 21 led 2-0 after an inning, but fell behind 4-2 after three innings. Athens scored a run in the bottom of the fifth, but Utica answered with a run in the top of the sixth.
Isaac York pitched 6 1-3 innings for Athens, giving up nine hits and two walks. He allowed five runs, with two being earned while striking out four.
Dalton Skinner pitched the final 2-3 of an inning in relief.
Andy Merckle was 2 for 3 with two runs and a walk for Post 21. Chase Reed, York, Skinner, Luke Chapman, Nate Durst and John Kimble each had hits for Athens. Skinner had an RBI while Reed scored a run.
Athens stayed alive with a 4-3 win over McArthur Post 303. Athens led 3-0 before Post 303 scored three runs in the top of the sixth.
Post 21 scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth. Kimble and Merckle each singled to start the inning. Reed scored Kimble with an RBI double to give Athens the lead.
Jacob Phillips pitched six innings for Athens to get the win. He allowed three runs, with one being earned, on five hits and two walks. He struck out one.
John Hobbs pitched the seventh for the save. He allowed one hit.
Athens had nine hits. Kimble was 3 for 3 with two runs and an RBI. Merckle was 2 for 4 with an RBI. Reed had a hit and RBI, while Skinner, Cameron Bayha and Phillips each recorded a hit.
The win gave Post 21 another shot at Utica, in what proved to be a back-and-forth affair.
Athens led 1-0 after one inning, but Utica scored once in the third and twice in the fourth to lead 3-1.
Post 21 scored three times in the fifth for a 4-3 advantage, but Post 92 took the lead back with two in the sixth.
Athens again answered to lead 8-5 after scoring four in the sixth.
However, Utica would score six runs in the top of the sixth to take the lead, and eventually advance in the tournament bracket.
Athens had 10 hits in the loss. Skinner was 3 for 4 with an RBI. Merckle was 2 for 4 with three runs and two RBIs. Durst was 2 for 4 with two runs, while Phillips was 2 for 4 with two runs and an RBI. Reed was 1 for 2 with a run and two walks.
Skinner started on the mound, giving up three runs on seven hits in 3 1-3 innings. Hobbs pitched 2 2-3 innings, allowing four runs on three hits. Niese pitched the final inning, allowing four runs on four hits.
Utica advanced to take on Lancaster Post 11 in the lower-bracket finale on Monday, with the winner taking on Meigs Post 39 in the championship game.
Post 39 has defeated Post 303 and Post 11 on its way to the championship game.
The winner will be one of eight teams to advance to the Ohio American Legion State Tournament, which will be held July 31 through August 4 at Lancaster’s Beavers Field.