It was survive, advance and onward for Vienna Post 180 the night of Aug. 8 in the second round of the American Legion Mid-Atlantic Region 2 Tournament in Asheboro, N.C.
Vienna (34-2) rallied from a 2-0 deficit after three innings to defeat host team Randolph County Post 45 by a 6-2 score at McCrary Park and improve to 2-0 in the baseball competition.
Post 180 plays Morgantown Post 2 of West Virginia in third-round action tonight at 7:30 p.m. Vienna, which is 11-0 in the postseason, takes an overall winning streak of 14 games into that contest.
Against Randolph County, Vienna gave up two runs in the top of the first, then its playoff-long stingy pitching toughened. Braden Huesbsch (4-0 in the postseason) started and the right-hander threw 6 1/3 innings to get the win.
“We gave up two runs in the first inning, then we righted the ship, and Braden did his thing,” Vienna manager Nick Good said. “He has so much poise and he kept us in the game.”
Huesbsch pitched out of some tough situations, scattering nine hits, walking just one, striking out seven and throwing 108 pitches.
Right-hander Justin Taylor, who plays in college at Cornell, got the final two outs on strikeouts.
The playoff appearance was the first for Taylor, who has had some injuries issues, missing the previous 10 games.
“Justin gave up a hit and walked a batter, then when he got a curveball over that buckled a batter’s knees, that was it. They weren’t going to hit him,” Good said. “He really wanted to be here for this tournament.”
With the bat, Vienna was led by catcher Avery Neaves. He was 2 for 3 with two doubles and three RBI. His deep bases-loaded, three-run double to center field in Post 180’s four-run fifth inning gave the team a 5-2 lead.
“Wow. What a moment,” Good said. “That was the hit of the game.”
In two region-tournament games, Neaves is 4 for 5 with seven RBI.
Allen Yager had an RBI single in the fifth inning for Vienna. Zach Perkins had an RBI groundout in the fourth for Post 180, and Jimmy Clark scored on an error in the sixth. Vienna had seven hits.
Taylor had a hit and a stolen base, Perkins, Luke Erdmann and Ryan Dooley all had one hit for Vienna, L.A. Rice had a sacrifice bunt, with Eric Lingebach walking once and scoring a run.
“I’ve never been around a group of guys who care so much,” Good said about his team. “That is good for Legion baseball and what it needs.”
Vienna already has won District 17 and Virginia state tournaments.