Weirton Post 10 gets eliminated from Legion play

MOUNDSVILLE – Following a day where St. Marys mustered only three hits in a 14-0 loss to Moundsville, Post 79 found a way to make contact, as it collected 17 hits, six of which were home runs, as it eliminated Weirton Post 10, 12-8, Wednesday during the Area 1 American Legion Tournament at Valley Fork.

”This has been a long tournament for us,” Post 10 manager Bill Magnone said. ”We just didn’t make the plays when we needed to again. We just didn’t play (well).”

That wasn’t the case during the first three innings as Weirton jumped out to a 7-2 lead, making it the second consecutive day the club found itself with an early lead.

But, just like the day before in a 10-7 loss to Wheeling, Post 10 slowly let the advantage slip through its fingers.

After St. Marys (23-16) closed the gap to four in the fourth, Matthew Houser and Tony Brunicardi hit back-to-back home runs with two outs in the fifth to make it a 7-5 contest.

Post 79 went right back at it in the sixth as Robby Harper scored on a fielder’s choice, followed by a D.J. Burgess hit that drove in Mitch Davis to knot the score at 7-7.

Weirton retook the the lead in the seventh as Matt Cessna scored on an error, but St. Marys relied on the long ball to help seal the deal during a five-run eighth inning that saw Houser, Tyler Davis and Harper send the ball over the fence.

”This is about our 13th or 14th comeback win,” St. Marys coach Steve Tice noted. ”We’ve done it a lot this season. These boys have a lot of grit. They’re a very mature group.”

With the victory, Post 79 made a date with Moundsville for the second time during the tournament that will be played at 5 p.m. today.

”Any time you get into the loser’s bracket, you have to come back and play one game at a time,” Tice said. ”That’s what we’re doing here. We beat Moundsville before even though they got us pretty good (Tuesday). We just kind of had a down day.”

Tyler Davis earned a victory as he threw 135 pitches and went all nine innings for Post 79. He also was a triple shy of the cycle as he singled, doubled and homered.

”Tyler had just been an exceptional pitcher for us this year,” Tice pointed out. ”We don’t have very many boys who can go nine. He’s not overpowering, but he doesn’t get shook up.

”At the plate, he just had a tremendous amount of power. He doesn’t have to swing the bat very fast at all, but he can put the hammer down when he needs to.”

In addition to Davis’ offense, Houser pitched in with two homers among four hits, while Zach Romine doubled and also hit a home run.

”We have a real strong batting order,” Tice said. ”We have some real heavyweights in there. We hit several home runs this year. We’ve done pretty well in that category.”

So well in fact that the 2013 campaign marks the first time in four years Post 79 will finish with a winning record.