It's a long road back from the loser's bracket.
It's an especially difficult task losing the first game of a 12-team double-elimination tournament, and that reality set in Wednesday for the Sandusky Post 83 baseball team at the Ohio American Legion state tournament in Lancaster.
After errors cost them in a 6-3 loss against Pickerington in the opening game Monday, Sandusky responded with three straight wins, including rallying from seven and eight runs down respectively, but couldn't climb out of a third hole in an 8-5 loss to Pickerington Wednesday.
Sandusky finishes the season at 39-15 with a fifth-place finish at the tournament.
It opened the day with an 11-10 win over Stuebenville after falling behind 7-0 in the second inning, but came up a hit short against Pickerington (51-4) after falling behind 6-0 in the fifth inning.
Against Stuebenville, Thane Walton (Perkins) proved to be the season-saver for Post 83, pitching 6 1/3 innings of relief, allowing three runs on five hits.
Down 9-8 entering the bottom of the eighth, Post 83 scored three runs to take the lead for good.
Offensively, Trey Keegan (Sandusky) finished with three hits, including a double and a home run and three RBI and three runs scored.
Logan Shullick (Norwalk 2011) had a pair of hits with a double, an RBI and two runs scored, while Mike Drake (Sandusky) posted three hits and scored twice.
Down 6-0 entering the seventh inning against Pickerington, Post 83 scored twice in the seventh and three times in the eighth to make it a 7-5 deficit.
After back-to-back state titles in 2008 and 2009, Post 83 missed the state tournament in 2010.
It finished third last season and fifth this season out of 64 registered Ohio Legion teams.
Read more in Thursday's Sandusky Register and Norwalk Reflector.