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ArlingtonArlington 139 second in District 17 tourney

Arlington 139 second in District 17 tourney

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The walkoff loss in the American Legion District 17 tournament title game was disappointing for second seed and defending champion Arlington Post 139, but the defeat wasn’t season-ending nor mood deflating for the baseball team.

Arlington (16-7) lost to top-seed Vienna Post 180 (19-5) by a 7-6 score after leading 5-2 through seven innings in the July 21 contest at Waters Field in Vienna. Post 180 scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, helped by four walks from relief pitches, to rally for the victory.

The winning run was scored with one out on a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded.

After a brief post-game conversation, the Arlington players and coaches began looking ahead to the eight-team Legion state tournament, in which Post 139 will be the host team. Games will be played at Barcroft Park and Wakefield High School, starting July 26.

Arlington’s first state-tourney game is July 26 at 4 p.m. at Barcroft.

“All and all, the old saying is it’s better to get there and lose than not to get there at all,” Arlington manager Bob Romano said about the district final. “We were so close to winning and it was disappointing we didn’t. But we’ll get up for another day and now we will get ready for the state tournament.”

The July 21 contest was a final playback event, forced when Arlington stayed alive by blanking Vienna, 7-0, the night before at Bacroft Park. A victory would have won the title for Post 180. See a story on that game and others about Arlington in the tourney at https://sungazette.news.

In the final July 21 clash, right-hander and staff ace Ketz Murray started and pitched seven-plus innings against Vienna, allowing just one earned run. When he left the game because of a maximum pitch-count limit, three different Arlington relief pitchers weren’t able to close the victory, walking five and allowing two hits.

Vienna’s starter, Mac Kopka, left after six innings, also because of a pitch-count limit. Arlington responded by scoring five runs off two relief pitchers.

“We both ran out of pitching,” Romano said. “Ketz pitched a great game. I couldn’t have asked anymore of him. I know he was tired at the end.”

Arlington had nine hits in the loss. Murray and James Thiriez (two RBI, two steals, sacrifice fly) each had two hits, Jordan Bussie had an RBI double, Jake Guffey doubled, Bobby McDonough had an RBI single and Dillon Bass and Landon Thomas each had a hit. Quinn Brennan walked twice, scored a run and stole one base

Arlington was 3-2 in the tournament, with each loss to Vienna and one victory over Post 180. Its other wins were over third-seed Fairfax Post 177, 5-4, and McLean Post 270, 7-5.

In the state tournament, Romano said Arlington will have a full roster of healthy players. Thomas and pitcher Tom Bourque saw limited action in the district tourney with injuries, but are healthy now.

NOTES: Arlington has played in the district-tournament finals for three straight seasons, losing to Springfield Post 176 in 2020 . . . Arlington finished third in last summer’s state tournament.

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