Teutopolis American Junior Legion Post 924 fit the role of underdog for all of one inning Thursday night. Slated as the sixth seed, Post 924 fell behind 3-0 after one inning against third-seeded Newton Post 20, but took control of the game from there.
Post 924 ripped off six unanswered runs, and withstood a late Post 20 charge, to claim a 6-5 upset win and advance to the District 23 winners’ bracket semifinals.
“It’s just the way we hit the baseball,” Post 924 coach Dennis Blievernicht said. “They never had time to get down on themselves.”
Blievernicht’s squad racked up 12 hits in the come-from-behind win, and advanced to tonight’s semifinal matchup against No. 2 seed Vandalia.
The early three-run deficit didn’t last long, as Post 924 tacked on two runs in the second when Jake Roepke delivered an RBI single up the heart of the defense to score Kyle Smith, and John Kreke reached home on a wild pitch.
A one-run third inning pulled Post 924 back to even when Matt Koester hammered an RBI double that scored smith, but the “underdogs” were just getting started.
Post 924 tacked on three more in the fifth. Cody Runde hit an RBI single, Tyler Westendorf smashed a double that scored another and Kreke hit into an error that scored the final run of the inning.
“There wasn’t any time to sit and sulk,” Blievernicht said. “That was probably the key. After that our defense picked up too, we started making plays.”
Post 20 was held in check until the sixth, when the home team scored a pair off an RBI single to right-center from Troy Houchin, his final two of a game-high three runs batted in.
But the scoring was halted from there, as Koester retired the next two batters on the hill and Roepke picked up the save in the seventh, facing just four batters in the final frame.
“After that [first inning] they settled down and made the routine plays,” Blievernicht said. “That’s all I ask them to do.”
Smith earned the win for Post 924, pitching the fourth and fifth innings with no runs allowed and two strikeouts.
Tyler Zuber took the loss, pitching five innings with six runs allowed off 11 hits.
Post 20 is off today before meeting the winner of tonight’s game between South Central and Altamont on Saturday in the losers’ bracket semis.
Braden Layer can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or at email@example.com
Teutopolis 0 2 1 0 3 0 0 6 12 2
Newton 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 5 7 2
WP-Smith LP-Zuber SV - Roepke
Teutopolis: Roepke (2 1B, RBI); Drees (1B); Johnson (1B); Westendorf (2B, RBI); Smith (1B, 2B); Koester (2B, RBI); Kreke (1B); Roewe (3B); Runde (2 1B, RBI).
Newton: Zuber (1B, 2B); Taylor (1B); Houchin (1B, 2B, 3 RBI); Probst (1B, RBI); Lidy (2B).