The team allowed the most single-game runs and walks in 10 postseason contests this summer, but Vienna Post 180 won nevertheless Aug. 7 in first-round action of the American Legion Mid-Atlantic Region 2 Tournament being played in Asheboro, N.C.
Virginia state-champion Vienna (33-2) nipped Brooklawn Post 72 of New Jersey, 8-7, by scoring the winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning on a bases-loaded, two-out walk taken by L.A. Rice on an 11-pitch at-bat. Vienna survived allowing nine hits, walking seven, making two errors and having two base runners picked off.
Brooklawn won back-to-back Legion World Series titles in 2013 and 2014.
Post 180 led 6-1 after two innings, then the score was tied at 6 and 7 before Vienna went ahead for good, in a game where it collected 12 hits. Vienna improved to 10-0 in the playoffs and upped their overall winning streak to 13.
Left-hander Zach Perkins led Vienna. He had three hits with the bat and pitched the game's final 3 2/3 innings of relief to get the victory. He allowed three hits, one earned run, fanned two and walked three in throwing 63 pitches for his longest one-game pitching stretch in the playoffs.
"We used him more than we wanted on the mound, but Zach pulled it out for us," Vienna manager Nick Good said.
The long 2:43 seven-inning game ended on a groundout to third-baseman Rice with a Brooklawn runner on second. Rice made a diving catch to his left, then threw to first in a close play disputed by Brooklawn.
Rice started and went three innings and Chris Blake pitched a third of an inning of relief.
With the bat for Vienna, Avery Neaves had two hits and four RBI, Ryan Dooley had three hits and an RBI, Jimmy Clark had a hit and one RBI, Blake had two hits, Allen Yager doubled and Rice and Eric Lingebach had RBI. Lingebach and Neaves (double) had sacrifice flies.
"L.A. has done it all for us this season," Good said. "He has pitched, he catches, plays third and plays first. That was an outstanding game-ending play at third for the final out. Probably the best I have seen in that situation."
Vienna plays either host Randolph County Post 45 or Hamburg Post 527 from New York at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 8 in its next game of the eight-team double-elimination tournament.
"At the state tournament we were considered the favorites because we were the defending champions," Good said. "But down here we are nobody against a lot of teams that have strong histories in the region and World Series. With our firepower with the bats, I think we can surprise some people."
NOTE: The Central Methodist Church of Asheboro is Vienna 180's local host and sponsor at the tournament. The church prepares home-cooked meals for the team and helps in other ways, like transporting equipment to the field. "Their hospitality down here is unbelievable," Good said.