Warren’s hit lifts Post 21 over Post 34

STEPHENS CITY — Winchester Post 21 manager Anthony Hargrave called on an ailing Eli Warren late in the game to come off the bench and help the team and Warren delivered in a big way.

Warren’s three-run single in the bottom of the eighth helped Post 21 rally for a 5-4 victory in the American Legion District 16 tournament held at Sherando High School on Thursday.

Warren has missed the last couple games due to a hamstring injury and has been sick with a virus the last few days.

“He called me today and said, ‘Coach, I’m going to come to the game today — maybe,'” Hargrave said. “I asked him about the fifth inning … I said, ‘Buddy, I think it’s going to come down to a hit, and I’m going to need you in the lineup.’ And he said, ‘Coach, if you need me I’ll do it.'”

Post 21 trailed 3-1 entering the bottom of the eighth.

Chase Smallwood led off with a single and Alex Dobry drew a walk from Post 34 starter A.J. Bourscheid. After a sac bunt by Coy Kerns, Smallwood was thrown out at home on a fielder’s choice off a ball hit by Myles McPartland. Zach Thompson followed with an RBI single to cut the lead to 3-2. Joel Smith then drew a walk to load the bases, and end the day for Bourscheid.

Post 34 turned to Griffin Buscavage on the mound to face Warren. With an 0-2 count, Warren drilled a pitch into center field to clear the bases for a 5-3 lead.

“I know with a new pitcher they usually try to get ahead fast,” Warren said. “So fastballs are the main priority and what happened was he threw a fastball and I missed. [He] threw a curveball and I missed that, but I knew he was coming back with another fastball and I was ready for it.

” … It feels great. I’m ecstatic right now.”

The four-run eighth helped move Post 21 starter Alex Dobry to 6-0 on the season after another strong performance.

Dobry went eight innings, allowing five hits, striking out eight.

“What a performance he put on tonight,” Hargrave said. “When Alex goes to the mound we feel like we can win every game. And why not? All year long he’s done what he did tonight. He’s shut other teams down, given us a chance to win.”

Post 21 took the lead in the bottom of the second without a hit.

Michael Tinsman drew a walk from Bourscheid. With one out, Tinsman moved to second on a throwing error. One out later, Tinsman stole third and scored on another throwing error.

Post 34 tied the game in the top of the fifth. Jake Cunningham led off with a single off Dobry. Kyle Bowles drew a walk. After a sacrifice bunt by T.J. Holdredge, a groundout RBI by Jack Howard tied the game at 1-1.

Post 34 took the lead in the top of the seventh with some help from Post 21.

Pat Carty singled to get things started. Cunningham reached on a two-base error. Carty scored on a fielder’s choice, and a throwing error on the play plated Cunningham to give Post 34 a 3-1 edge.

Post 21 had a golden opportunity in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Thompson drew a walk from Bourscheid. One out later, Warren reached on a two-base error and Jordon Turner drew a walk to load the bases.

Bourscheid struck out Ty Michaud to end the threat.

Bourscheid pitched 8 2/3 innings, struck out 11, allowed three hits and walked 10.

“We knew this was the game. We knew this was going to be the game of the tournament. We knew this was going to be a tough game,” Hargrave said. ” … Tip your hat to our opponent. They’re a great team, and I’m sure we’re probably going to see them again before this is all said and done.”

Smallwood came on in relief for Post 21 and picked up the save. He struck out Buscavege with two runners on to end the game.

Smallwood led Post 21 at the plate with two hits.

In an earlier game, Front Royal Post 53 beat Manassas Post 158, 6-3. Rhett Tierney picked up the win, pitching eight solid innings and allowing only two runs.

Post 53 will play Post 34 Friday at 10 a.m. in the double-elimination tourney. The winner will play again at 4 p.m. All games are being played at Sherando.

Post 21 will play Remington Post 247 Friday at 7 p.m. The winner moves into the championship game on Saturday.

“We got the mojo going,” Hargrave said. “I told the guys we’re on our home field, we’re playing Remington we’ve played some good games against them. We’re excited about the opportunity — one win away from a championship game and that’s what we’ve played all summer for.

“I think this group’s got it in them, and we’re certainly going to come out and give it our best effort tomorrow.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com