TORONTO - It certainly was not the type of start the Toronto Post 86 baseball team hoped for against Massillon Post 221 to open the District 10 American Legion Baseball Tournament.
Post 221 built an early 4-0 advantage and Massillon held on for a 7-6 victory over Toronto in Game 1 of the double-elimination tournament Monday evening at the Knight Baseball Complex.
Toronto (9-18) head coach Steve Sninchak said the slow start proved costly for his team.
"Yeah, we got behind early," he said. "We rallied late, but we left opportunities out there. We had some errors. We had some walks. When you walk seven or eight batters, again, that is not going to get it done.
"We got behind again. It is the same old story for us. We had two bad innings. That is the story every game for us. We didn't get any clutch hits.
"Our pitchers did OK. We struggled early. Then, they settled in. They gave us a chance."
Toronto used four pitchers in the game.
Nate Stewart took the loss and did not make it out of the top of the second inning. Stewart recorded one strikeout and four walks in his one-plus inning of work and was unable to record an out in the second stanza.
Sninchak said he started Stewart on the mound because it was his turn in the rotation.
"That was it," he said. "He was due up in the rotation."
Zac Barnes replaced Stewart. Barnes struck out four and walked three in five-plus innings of relief work. Barnes was relieved in the seventh by Logan Allen, who did not record a strikeout while issuing one free pass in two innings of work. Hank Clegg struck out one and did not walk a batter in the ninth inning.
Sninchak said he did not want to use so many pitchers in the game.
"No, we are already thin on pitchers, but you do what you have to do to get to the next game," he said.
Post 86 outhit Post 221, 12-11.
Individually for Toronto, Tyler Owens tallied three singles, a double and an RBI; Blaze Glenn ended up with three base hits and Billy Solomon belted two singles to go along with two RBIs. Ryan Cline, John Romey, Jarin McIntosh and Chez Glenn all collected base hits. Finally, Barnes recorded an RBI.
Ryan Andrzejczyk recorded the win for Post 221. He struck out four and walked two in 7 innings. John Justyn picked up the save by recording the final four outs of the game. Justyn struck out three and walked one in 1 innings.
Offensively, Justyn ended up with a single, a double and two RBIs, David Fach finished with three singles and an RBI and catcher Evan Berbari recorded a single and two RBIs. Also, Dylan Fannin and Ryann Burkheimer each contributed a single and an RBI, and Aaron Maag and Christian Schoenfeld each delivered a base hit.
Massillon got off to a great start, plating three runs in the first inning to take a 3-0 advantage. Post 221 tacked another run on in the second to increase its lead to 4-0. The victors continued their strong play with three runs in the sixth to go up 7-0.
Toronto had its back against the wall, but Post 86 refused to go away quietly as it scored four runs in the bottom half of the inning to pull within 7-4.
Solomon drove home a run with a single, and two more runners came across on a throwing error on an attempted double play. A ground out by Barnes plated the fourth run of the inning.
Toronto cut its deficit to one in the seventh, scoring twice on back-to-back doubles by Owens and Solomon.
Post 86 had one final opportunity in the ninth, but was unable to capitalize.
Owens led off the inning with a single, but he was thrown out trying to steal second after a failed bunt attempt by Solomon. Justyn retired the next two batters on strikeouts to end the game.
"We are in the losers' bracket," Sninchak said. "We know we have our work cut out for us."
Toronto will now play at 4 p.m. Wednesday against the loser of today's game featuring Cadiz and Coshocton. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Knight Baseball Complex.
Massillon will play in the nightcap at 7 p.m. today against Wayne County.
In Monday's nightcap, Richmond scored a run in the top of the ninth inning to earn a 6-5 win over Tuscarawas County. Ryan Kramarich went the distance to record the win for Post 740.
With the win, Richmond (10-23) will play Alliance at 5 p.m. today at Vaccaro Field. Steubenville will open the doubleheader by taking on Kingsville at 2 p.m.
Tuscarawas County will next play Wednesday against the loser of the Steubenville-Kingsville game.
Massillon 7, Toronto 6
Massillon 310 003 000 - 7 11 1
Toronto 000 004 200 - 6 12 1
MASSILLON: Andrzejczyk (WP, 7 1/3 IP, 4K, 2BB), Justyn (1 2/3IP, 3K, 1BB) and Berbari; Fach 3S, RBI; Justyn S, D, 2 RBI; Berbari S, 2 RBI; Fannin S, RBI; Burkheimer S, RBI; Jones S; Maag S; Schoenfeld S.
TORONTO (9-18): Nate Stewart (LP, 1IP, 1K, 4BB), Barnes (5IP, 4K, 3BB), Allen (2 IP, 0K, 1BB), Clegg (1IP, 1K, 0BB) and Solomon; B. Glenn 3S; Cline S; Owens 3S, D, RBI; Solomon 2S, 2 RBI; McIntosh S; Romey S; Barnes RBI; C. Glenn S.