Although neither team had a winning regular-season record with 4-14 marks each, McLean Post 270 and Falls Church Post 130 now enter the American Legion District 17 tournament as the fourth and fifth seeds, respectively, but with hope of qualifying for the state tourney.
Four teams from the six-team, double-elimination district tourney could eventually earn state berths. Arlington Post 139 is hosting the state tournament and has an automatic berth. Two other teams could qualify based on strong district-tournament finishes and a fourth by virtue of a play-in against a team from another district.
So when Falls Church and McLean meet in a first-round district-tourney game today at 2 p.m. at Barcroft Park in Arlington, the winner could have an edge in achieving a possible state berth.
The teams also met in the final regular-season game for each squad on July 14, with McLean winning 5-2, despite being outhit 11-10. Falls Church couldn’t overcome multiple errors.
For McLean, Kohl Strom, Thomas Myers, Ashton Armour and Jack Connor (one RBI) each had two hits and Kiran Shama had one hit and one RBI. Armour and Teddy Gerkin pitched strong in relief. Gerkin fanned four in three innings and Armour threw an eight-pitch final inning to earn the save, facing just three batters.
For Falls Church in the loss, Michael Keefe had four hits and Spencer Robson, Alex Tanaka (triple) and Gavin Bundy (double) had two each. Ryan Doherty tripled.
The teams also met in another recent contest with Falls Church winning, 10-9, in walkoff fashion. Robson had three hits with a double and three RBI, including the game winner to score Bundy.
Wesley Clarke homered and had two hits and two RBI for Falls Church, Bundy doubled and had two RBI, Keefe had two hits and Orlando Torres added two hits. Zach Pacak was the winning pitcher in relief.
Armour homered twice and doubled for McLean, having four hits and three RBI. Gerkin, Yechan Kim, Bradley Armour and Connor all had two hits. Evan Connery fanned eight in five innings on the mound.
In a 14-1 loss to Fairfax Post 177, Finn Scott-Daniels had two hits for Falls Church and Bundy tripled.
Falls Church was the only squad in the seven-team district to play all of its 18 regular-season games. Others received a loss for games not played.
“I guess that’s something to be proud of,” Falls Church manager Ray Zdancewicz said.
Fairfax is the third seed in the district tournament.
Vienna Post 180 is the top seed in the district tournament and Arlington the second. Alexandria Post 24 is the sixth seed.
Alexandria and Fairfax play a first-round game at Barcroft today at 6 p.m.
On Sunday, July 17 there are two more games scheduled at Barcroft. Vienna hosts McLean or Falls Church at 2 p.m. and Arlington plays Fairfax or Alexandria at 6 p.m.
Vienna finished regular-season play with a 5-1 road victory over Alexandria as Robert Reddington had three hits and an RBI, Tanner Wharton added two hits and two RBI and Bannon Brazell and Ryan Dwyer doubled.
Arlington nipped Leesburg Post 34, 3-2, in its final regular-season game.
Chase Rubin was the starting and winning pitcher, allowing no runs and three hits and striking out six with a walk in five innings. Lorenzo Snyder worked two innings of shutout and hitless ball to earn the save, with two strikeouts.
Ketz Murray had a hit and two RBI for Arlington.
“They are a very good team and it was a good game that moved along,” Arlington manager Bob Romano said. “A game like that prepares us for the upcoming playoffs.”