But it was worth it.
Post 83 beat No. 1 seeded Zanesville and No. 2 seeded Pickerington in the semifinals and final Sunday to take home the Jadewin Memorial American legion tournament championship.
“I am extremely proud and excited of all my guys,” Post 83 coach Bobby Palsa said. “This was a crazy tournament for us as far as ups and downs and 14 inning games. We knew that in our second game that if we took care of business and limited the amount of runs we gave up, that we had a chance to play for a championship on Sunday and we got that goal.”
Post 83 entered the semifinals ranked No. 4 out of the 16 teams.
Because the team would play the No. 1 seed, they played on the VA Memorial Stadium. “A lot of things fell in our favor,” Palsa said. “Not only did we get to play at the nice stadium, it set us up for not having to travel in between games if we won. Our opponents would come to us in the championship game.”
Post 83 routed Zanesville 10-1 behind the arm of Alex Manner (Bellevue), who was injured Friday with a hip flexor.
“We knew we were going to throw Alex in that first game,” Palsa said. “He got hurt Friday but rested Saturday morning and played a little for us Saturday night and felt good. Once he gave us the green light to pitch he was pumped and ready to go.”
Manner struck out seven batters, walked one, gave up five hits and one run through seven innings of work.
“He's coming off a great season at Bellevue and we were confident that he could get it done for us today,” Palsa said.
Kyle Fluharty (Willard) went 2 for 3 with a triple, an RBI and a run scored while Quinten Harrington (Perkins) went 2 for 3 with an RBI and three runs scored.
Kyle Feyedelem (St. Mary Central Catholic) went 2 for 4 with three RBIs and Alex Walts went 1 for 2 with two RBIs.
“This is the position we wanted to be in,” Palsa said about the championship final. “We earned that opportunity. It was up to them.”
In the championship, Post 83 faced a familiar opponent in Pickerington.
Pickerington beat Post 83 twice last season in the state tournament.
Post 83 got its revenge with a 10-0 shutout in five innings behind Braun Miller (Perkins) who gave up just one hit, one walk and struck out six.
“The guys that were coming back from last year had a grudge to settle with these guys,” Palsa said. “Braun was one of those guys. I knew Pickerington could hit so I thought it would be a good idea to throw a lefty at them.”
“He's a goof lefty with speed and a great fast ball,” Palsa added. “Braun did fantastic. He challenged them early in the count. If they didn't attack they were going to be sat down pretty quick.Him and Ryan Reed were on the same page with everything he threw.”
Post 83 scored five runs in the third inning and five in the fifth in the win.
“The first two innings we had really good at bats,” Palsa said. “They just made plays but we told the kids that if we continue to have good at bats, good things will happen. The bats came alive today. Those were our best two games of the tournament if not our best two games of the entire season.”