WAYNESBORO – American Legion defeated Waynesboro Construction, 13-4, to capture the 2022 Waynesboro Youth League Major Division best-of-three championship series, but there were no losers on Tuesday night at the Clayton South field on a muggy evening.
American Legion fell behind 3-0 but stormed back with four runs in the bottom of the first, and, after Waynesboro Construction tied the game 4-4 in the top of the third, Legion tacked on five runs in the fourth and four more in the fifth to close out the scoring.
“I think they had a great team,” said American Legion manager Justin Biser, who is hanging up his manager’s hat but will still volunteer his time for other things such as field maintenance. “All along they’ve been the team to beat. I still think they have a great team; it’s just that we came alive at the very, very end of the season. I was happy to get the hits and the plays we needed.”
American Legion needed to win its final regular season game and then a playoff game to finish runners-up to Waynesboro Construction in the final standings.
“We lost our first two games. One of our players broke his hand and we lost a few players to travel ball here and there, lot of rainouts, we couldn’t get things going. Halfway through the season I didn’t even think we had a chance for the playoffs. At the end of the season things started going right,” Biser said.
Wacco started strong against starting pitcher Camryn Reed.
Izaac Miller started the game off with a triple and scored on a double by Hadyn Hicks. Hicks scored on a base hit off the bat of Nick Carbaugh. Carbaugh crossed the plate on a ground out.
Reed settled down to strike out the next five batters, and the American Legion offense did its part to put the pressure back on Wacco to come from behind.
Kaden Lewis walked, and Kadyn Myers laid down a nice bunt but beat out the throw for a single instead of being thrown out for a sacrifice bunt. Jack Knepper, who pitched the final two innings in relief of Reed, drove home Lewis and Myers with a double. Reed followed with a rocket shot to center field for a two-run home run and a 4-3 lead.
Miller hit a one-out double in the top of the third and scored on a throwing error to tie the game.
Wacco relief pitcher Mason Nickel set down the side in order in the home third, but Reed, who allowed only one base runner from the latter part of the first inning to the fourth frame (13 batters), struck out two of three batters to make it a quick top of the fourth.
Reed finished the game with nine strikeouts. All six of Knepper’s outs were strikeouts.
Knepper hit a two-run triple in the fourth and a two-run double in the fifth to help American Legion pull away.
American Legion won Game 1 by the score of 10-0 in four innings.