American Legion Baseball: Division champ Eden Post 880 opens playoffs with win
Eden Post 880 continues what it hopes will be a lengthy playoff run today (Monday, July 16) competing among the American Legion 19-and-under league’s eight-team field from Western New York District 8.
Eden, the top seed from the South Division, got off to a winning start in the double elimination tournament on Saturday, July 14 at Centennial Park in West Seneca with a 5-1 victory over Brounschidle, the fourth seed from the North Division, whose team’s home base is St. Joe’s Collegiate Academy. Down one run, Eden’s offense got going in the fifth, scoring three times, before adding two more insurance runs in the sixth.
Lake Shore High School graduate Brian Barry delivered the tying- and go-ahead runs in the fifth with a double and Vinnie Sherman knocked in a run on one of his two hits. Kyle Sherman, a North Collins graduate like his older brother, Vinnie, added a two-run single in the sixth. This fall, Kyle will join his brother and Barry at ECC, where the two just completed their freshman seasons.
Mitch Williams continued his strong pitching this season, throwing a five-hit, complete game, striking out four. Williams, also a North Collins graduate, comes off his freshman season as a hurler with Mohawk Valley Community College.
The eight-team field was broken into two different brackets for playoffs. Eden was joined by Allegany, the three seed from the South, and the North’s two and four seeds in Tonawanda and Brounschidle. After Sunday’s (July 15) play, Brounschidle was eliminated with a second loss, while Tonawanda was 1-1 and Allegany, like Eden, started 1-0. Post 880 will play tonight 5:45 p.m. at Veteran's Park in Tonawanda.
In the other district playoff bracket, Jaworski’s, the fourth seed from the South, whose home base is in the Frontier and Hamburg School Districts, fell in its first two games and was eliminated. At the end of the weekend, Jurek, the North’s top seed, and West Seneca, who finished second in the South, were both unbeaten at 2-0. Lamm, the third-place team from the North, was eliminated along with Jaworski's.
The top two teams remaining from the double-elimination playoff tournament will play a best-of-three series for the district championship with the winner advancing to the State Tournament from July 31 to Aug. 5 in Utica.
Eden finished its regular season with a doubleheader sweep in a showdown with West Seneca to clinch the South Division title and one of two top seeds in the district playoffs.
With both teams coming into the game at 15-1, Eden overtook West Seneca in the division thanks to an 8-7 extra-inning, walk-off victory in the opener and then an 11-1 win in the nightcap on July 16 at Eden High School. The wins also avenged Eden’s only loss of the season, coming at the hands of last year's South Division champion West Seneca, 8-4, two days earlier on July 7. Post 880 finished the regular season at 17-1.
Gowanda’s Ryan Boutelle supplied the game-winning single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth. Barry led the offense with three hits and picked up the win in relief of Williams. Vinnie Sherman and Eden High School graduate Todd Gardner added two hits for Eden. Barry then won Game 2 on the mound, tossing five innings of two-hit ball, and recorded another three-hit game. Kyle Sherman also had three hits, while Eden graduate Dan Karstedt, Vinnie Sherman and Frontier High School graduate Mack Zeis each added two.