With an eventful season complete, there will be lasting memories for the Arlington Post 139 players and coaches regarding the 2021 American Legion summer baseball campaign.
Play concluded for Post 139 with a third-place finish in the Legion state tournament July 31. Arlington (14-9) lost in the losers’-bracket final to Colonial Heights Post 284 by a 9-2 score. Post 139 was 2-2 in the state, losing its opening game to Colonial Heights, 3-1, as well.
Prior to the state, third-seeded Arlington won the District 17 tournament, finishing 4-0 in the competition and owning a nine-game winning streak entering the state. Post 139 defeated each of the top-two seeds to win the district tourney.
Overall, Arlington compiled a 6-2 postseason record.
Before the winning streak began, Arlington was struggling with only three victories.
“What a run we had,” Arlington manager Bob Romano said. “When we had just three wins, I was thinking then, ‘I don’t know.’ Then we got hot.”
In the concluding 9-2 loss to Colonial Heights, played at Fireman’s Field in Purcellville, Arlington fell behind early and wasn’t able to catch up, as the team did in previous victories after trailing 4-0 and 5-0.
“We are on the edge of the cliff and had run out of pitching,” Romano said.
In that final game, Ketz Murray continued his hot-hitting postseason with two more hits. Murray had multiple-hit games throughout the playoffs. He also pitched in mutiple contests.
“Ketz Murray was the story of the tournament with how many big hits he had,” Romano said.
Dillon Bass also had two hits and an RBI for Arlington. Quinn Brennan tripled; A.J. Haines had a hit and one RBI; and James Thiriez, Sam Dozier and Ben Langsam had the other hits.
In its first three games, in order, Arlington lost to Colonial Heights, 3-1; rallied from an early 4-0 deficit to outscore Leesburg Post 34 in a 9-7 victory, then battled back again from being behind 5-0 against Danville Post 325 to win, 12-9.
The tournament was played in Loudoun County.
In that initial loss, Dozier doubled and had an RBI, Langsam had three hits and Bass and Landon Thomas had the other hits.
The game was scoreless through five innings, as right-hander Murray was pitching well for Arlington. He threw a complete game, allowing five hits, two earned runs and struck out three with two walks.
“We easily could have won that game with one or two more big hits,” Romano said.
In Arlington’s victory over Leesburg, Brennan led an 11-hit attack. He had three hits, including a double, drove in three runs and stole two bases. Thomas also had three hits with two RBI. Bass had a hit and two RBI, and Langsam and Gideon Fenster each had a hit and one RBI. Murray, Haines and Thiriez each had a hit.
Thomas Bourque pitched the final two scoreless and hitless innings of relief to earn the save. He struck out two with two walks.
Ryan Upton got the win in relief, allowing four hits and one earned run with two strikeouts.
In the win over Danville, Murray led an 11-hit attack with three hits, including two doubles, and three RBI. Langsam doubled, had two hits and two RBI, Dozier and Brennan each had a hit and two RBI, Alexander Zur added two hits, Haines had a hit and one RBI, Bass had a sacrifice fly and Thomas had one hit.
Bass was the winning pitcher in relief in five innings of work. Brennan earned the save in hte victory with two Ks and no walks or runs and one hit allowed in 12/3 frames.
“Quinn came in and threw strikes, and that’s what we needed right there in that situation,” Romano said. “Everybody stepped in and up and contributed,” Romano said. “I think everybody had a good time in this tournament. You don’t know the competition that much when you get to states because you haven’t seen these teams. But we were very competitive in the state.”
NOTES: Arlington was playing in the state tournament for the first time since 2009, when it finished 1-2 in that competition, winning its first game, then losing its next two by lopside scores that summer . . . Chesapeake Post 280 won this season’s state championship with a 4-0 record to move on to the Mid-Atlantic Region Tournament that begins this week. The region champion advances to the Legon World Series. Arlington did not play Post 280 in the state tournament. A victory over Colonial Heights in the losers’-bracket final would have meant Arlington needed to defeat Chesapeake twice to win the state.