First a district title, then a state crown and the latest an historic region runner-up finish for Vienna Post 180, one win short of reaching the American Legion World Series.
Vienna (36-4) finished second in the Mid-Atlantic Region 2 Legion baseball tournament at McCrary Park in Asheboro, N.C., with a 4-2 record, losing its final two games to host team Randolph County Post 45 of North Carolina by 3-0 and 3-2 scores Aug. 11. In the 3-2 loss, Vienna had runners on first and third when the game ended on a strikeout.
The game was the third between the teams in the competition, with Vienna winning the first 6-2.
Post 180 was playing in the region championship game for the first time in program history and nearly reaching the World Series for the first time.
“I think we have surprised some people down here,” said third-year Vienna manager Nick Good, who has already won 86 games, two district and two state tournament titles and now a region runner-up as the team’s skipper “We did not have the pedigree as far as having a strong history in the region tournament like some other teams have here.”
The region title was the third in a row for Randolph County, having captured the Southeast crown the last two summers. The team was playing the region tournament on its home field.
In the 3-2 loss on Aug. 11, Randolph County scored three runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 3-1 lead. A sacrifice fly by Avery Neaves in the bottom of the fourth cut the lead to 3-1. It became 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth on Luke Erdmann’s RBI groundout.
Allen Yager (two hits) and Ryan Dooley (three hits) each singled in the last of the seventh after one out, then Eric Lingebach reached on a fielder’s choice. The game ended on a strikeout.
Vienna had eight hits. Lingebach, Erdmann and Zach Perkins all had one hit.
Shane Stiehl started and pitched two scoreless, one-hit innings, Perkins pitched next and took the loss in relief with Justin Taylor throwing the final two frames. Randolph County had five hits.
“Pitching kept us in the games, but we didn’t hit the ball as well as we would have liked to in the last two games,” Good said.
In the 3-0 loss earlier on Aug. 11, Vienna had just two hits, going to Yager and Jimmy Clark. Vienna had just two base runners. Post 45 scored two runs in the first inning and one in the third as L.A. Rice started and took the loss in five innings of work. Lingebach threw two innings of scoreless relief, allowing no hits and striking out three.
That loss ended Post 180’s 16-game winning streak, including 13 straight in the postseason.
“Getting to the World Series would have been tremendous,” Good said. “But what we accomplished was a great run, a lot of fun and historical. I think we defined success in a positive way.”
Vienna’s other region wins came over Brooklawn Post 72 of New Jersey by 8-7 and 6-2 scores and Morgantown Post 2 of West Virginia, 15-1. For game stories on each of those contests, visit www.insidenova.com/sports/fairfax.
The playoff run started for Vienna by winning the District 17 tourney with a 4-0 mark. Post 180 then was 5-0 in capturing the Virginia state-tournament crown and moving on to the region.
NOTE: 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. Each coach had sons who played Legion ball as well, all for Vienna 180.