It was worth the wait.
After rain postponed the previous two games for the Sandusky Legion team, the defending state champions finally hit the field Friday at Athens High School and held off Alliance Post 166 to advance to today's State Legion Tournament Championship.
Alliance had just four losses on the year entering the day.
"Without question it was worth it," Post 83 coach Ray Neill said. "The wait put Ryan Krumlauf back on the mound and he was very good. The score doesn't indicate his work today."
Krumlauf (Perkins) struck out 10 batters -- just as he did in Monday's start against Napoleon -- and added three hits at the plate with three RBIs and scored once.
Post 83 (26-12) faces Napoleon — the winner of the loser's brakcet — and needs a win in today's game at 9:30 a.m. to clinch it's second straight legion title. Napoleon, the last legion team to repeat when it won titles in 2000-01, must win two games against Sandusky to win the crown.
Post 83 scored seven runs in fourth inning to open a commanding 9-3 lead, and pushed the margin wider to 12-3 after the fifth inning, but a five-run rally in the ninth got Alliance back in the game before Matt Hamons (Willard) closed the door.
"We're in the championship game, so it's still not finished," Neill said. "Napoleon and Alliance are two very good teams. At this point we have a slight advantage."
Hamann will start the final game, said Neill, adding he would use Hamons late in the game if needed. Post 83, 4-0 at the tournament, already beat Napoleon 3-2 Monday.
"Hopefully we can get it done. We put ourselves through the great start (this season), through the tumultous middle, we've righted the ship," Neill said. "It's not finished, but it's within sight."
Xavier Turner (Perkins) went 2-for-6 with a home run -- his first of the spring and summer -- while scoring two runs and driving in two more.
"I reminded him of it as he rounded third base, and told him it was about time -- about time he got a little 'oomph' into one," said Neill, who coached Turner during the spring at Perkins.
Krumlauf lasted 8 1/3 innings against Alliance, and four of his six runs were earned allowing six runs. He allowed seven hits and walked four batters.
Krumlauf allowed a base hit to the first batter in the ninth, but got the next hitter to ground out to Matt Gundlach. However, Krumlauf walked the next batter, and Neill went to Zak Esposito (Sandusky), who allowed two singles and a three-run homer to bring the score to 13-10.
Scott Hacker (Perkins) went out to face one batter and walked him, forcing Neill to call out Hamons.
Hamons got the first batter to ground out to Cody Koch (Perkins) at first, then got a pop fly to Spencer Bryant (Perkins) to end the game with the tying run in the on deck circle.
"It's kind of been that way all year," Neill said of the tight finish. "Been difficult to get those three outs, but we've been able to get them and still hold the lead. We told Zak and Scotty to let it go and we need you (today)."
Michael Shepherd (Perkins/Washington and Jefferson) was 2-for-4 with a run scored and one RBI, Andrew Enderle (Norwalk) had two hits and an RBI, and Cody Koch (Perkins), who had one hit, reached base four times and scored on each occasion.
In the fourth inning, Joe Consolo (Bellevue), who was 1-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI, got things started when he reached on an error. Gundlach (Perkins), 1-for-5, doubled to left-center and Shepherd scored Consolo with a sacrifice fly, moving Gundlach to third.
Koch was hit by a pitch, and two batters later Gundlach scored when the ball got away from the catcher. Krumlauf drove in another with a single.
Back-to-back singles from Enderele and Consolo brought in two more runs, and three others found their way home on two Alliance errors and a wild pitch.
"In the inning we scored seven runs, (we got) a solid effort from the bottom of the lineup to the top," Neill said. "Consolo's our No. 9 hitter, and he gets on base and we bat around and get back to him."
In the fifth, Shepherd was hit by a pitch and Turner homered before Koch singled and moved up on a groundout by Bryant, then scored on a Krumlauf single. Koch, who reached on an error by the shortstop, eventually scored the final run on a wild pitch.
The two runs in the third inning crossed when Krumlauf walked and Drake was hit by a pitch to bring in a pair for a 2-0 lead before Alliance came back with three in the bottom half.
The game was slated to start in the morning, but rain forced a delay and first pitch finally came around 4 p.m.
"We got a ton of rain last night from midnight to about 4 in the morning," Neill said.
Still, it was worth the wait.