The pitching of Patrick Hall, solid defense, and the gift of the sixth inning together send West End Post 361 to the American Legion District 11 Championship Game after holding on for a 9-6 win tonight over Mechanicsville Post 175 at L.C. Bird High School.
Hall pitched 8 innings, striking out two while keeping Mechanicsville off balance, getting only four hits in the first eight frames. Hall tired in the ninth, walking the first two batters before allowing a double and single before being replaced by Kyle Saltzberg. He ended with a line of five runs on six hits with three walks to go with the two strikeouts. Take away the work in the final inning, and the line is more indicative of his overall work.
Hall also homered in the fifth inning for the game's first run. Post 175 starter Patrick Holler had matched Hall's performance to that point. Holler fell apart in the sixth. After a Craig McLane flyout, Holler walked both Drew Barker and Will Black. Clean-up hitter Kyle Battle then greeted reliever Thomas Renfro with a double to left-center to score both runners.
Drew Scott followed with a single, then Battle scored on a fielders choice by Eric Crain. Crain advanced to second on a wild pitch to Hall, then Hall singled to left scoring Crain. Hall advanced to second on the play, then scored when shortstop Josh Shepherd threw wildly to first on a grounder by Nick Koutsoukas, scoring Hall with the inning's final run.
Post 361 (13-6) added two in the eighth and one in the ninth, and needed them, as Post 175 rallied for five runs in the ninth before finally running out of steam.
The two teams have split their four meetings this season: 1-1 in regular season play, 1-1 in this tournament. Tomorrow's 7pm game sends one to a District title and the State Tournament in Purcellville beginning Monday, and one to the end of the road.