From start to finish, Vienna Post 180 dominated its third game of the American Legion Mid-Atlantic Region 2 Tournament in Asheboro, N.C., routing Morgantown Post 2 of West Virginia by a 15-1 score to improve to 3-0 in the baseball competition.
Vienna (35-2) is the only undefeated of the four teams remaining in the eight-team double-elimination event. Post 180 plays Brooklawn Post 72 of New Jersey at 7:30 p.m. tonight in its next game. If Vienna wins that contest, it would need just one more victory to capture the region crown and advance to next week's American Legion World Series in Shelby, N.C.
So far, Vienna is 12-0 in the postseason this summer and has a 15-game winning streak. Prior to the region tourney, Post 180 won the District 17 and Virginia state tournaments.
"I think we have surprised some people down here," Vienna manager Nick Good said. "We did not have the pedigree as far as having a strong history in the region tournament like some other teams have here."
Vienna amassed 16 hits in the shortened six-inning game against Morgantown, including long back-to-back home runs by Avery Neaves and Zach Perkins. Neaves had three hits and four RBI and Perkins had two hits and three RBI. Vienna's Ryan Dooley added four hits, including a double, and two RBI; Luke Erdmann doubled and had three RBI; and Braden Huebsch had two hits with a double.
Vienna scored two runs in the first inning, added four more in the second, one in the third, two in the fourth, then six in the sixth.
Also for Vienna, Eric Lingebach had two hits and two RBI, Allen Yager had a hit and an RBI and Jimmy Clark had a hit.
On the mound, Vienna used three pitchers, with Shane Stiehl starting and going three innings to get the win. He struck out four, allowed one hit and one earned run and did not walk a batter.
"Shane hadn't pitched for us in a while, but he was in full control against a good hitting team," Good said. "He was the next guy up and he was tremendous. With the bats, we really kept the pressure on them."
Lingebach pitched two scoreless innings of relief and Dooley worked the final frame with two strikeouts.
Morgantown had just three hits.
Good praised Post 180 pitching coach Tom Gately.
"I can't do this without him," Good said. "He is a tremendous help."
Coincidently, Good and Gately both played American Legion baseball for Arlington Post 139, but not on the same teams. Gately is older, playing high-school baseball in Arlington for Yorktown. Good also played high-school baseball in Arlington for Washington-Lee. Gately has a son who is a former player for Vienna Post 180, who pitched in the state tournament a few years ago. Good sons also have been members of Post 180 in the past. So the American Legion connection is strong between the coaches.
NOTE: Vienna second-round region-tournament win over host team Randolph County Post 45 ended the team's 11-game winning streak in region tournament competition over three seasons. Randolph County is the two-time defending Southeast Region champion, but switched regions for this summer's play.