For the second consecutive year, the Gloucester Post 75 team earned a spot in the American Legion state baseball tournament. The team advanced by winning the district championship on Friday at Deer Park in Newport News.
Post 75 had wins against Smithfield, Williamsburg Post 39 and Denbigh before earning the state bid in a rematch with Williamsburg.
After beating Smithfield and Williamsburg in early play, Gloucester got by Denbigh in a 5-3 game. Joey Burney got the win on the mound, scattering nine hits and getting four strikeouts. Denbigh scored a run in the top of the first inning but Jake Fletcher answered in the bottom for Post 75 with a home run.
Gloucester took a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the second when Travis Myers reached on a shortstop error and was followed by hits from Matt Fischgrund, Ryan Kellum and Matt Houston. Gloucester added another run when Myers walked and Fischgrund smashed a triple to bring him home. Denbigh scored a run in the seventh and another in the ninth for the final tally, 5-3.
The championship game was a rematch with Post 39 in which Gloucester got by the Williamsburg team, 13-12. Williamsburg took an early 4-0 lead with runs in the first and third innings and two in the second. Gloucester cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third with consecutive hits from Burney, Cameron Cecil, Myers and Fischgrund.
Gloucester added four more runs in the fourth when Fletcher and Alexander Crittenden walked and Burney, Cecil and Myers had consecutive hits to make it 6-4. Williamsburg scored a run in the top of the fifth to close in at 6-5 but Gloucester responded in the bottom with five runs. Aaron Bremmer and Cecil both had hits before Fletcher, Crittenden and Burney walked and Myers had an RBI fielder’s choice to make it 11-5.
Post 39 rallied back with a run in the sixth and three in the seventh to close the lead to 11-9. Gloucester made it 12-9 with consecutive doubles from Fletcher and Crittenden to close the seventh. Post 39 moved it to 12-10 with a run in the eighth.
Williamsburg drew two walks to open the ninth and Gloucester coach Ricky Wiggins brought in Michael Taylor on short rest. After walking the next batter to load the bases, Taylor struck out two before a Post 39 player hit a Texas Leaguer for two RBIs and a 12-12 tie. With runners on first and third, Taylor got the third strikeout to maintain the tie.
In the bottom of the ninth, Fletcher got a hit and Crittenden drew a walk before Burney, who is headed to play for Old Dominion University, got a walk-off hit for the win. The victory sent Gloucester to the state tournament, which began yesterday at American Legion Post 325 Memorial Stadium in Danville.