Mattoon’s American Legion Post 88 18U has had a helluva three days.
Post 88 had outscored three opponents 26-2 across 24 hours Sunday and Monday, defeating the Decatur Commodores 8-0, the 2020 Illinois Nationals 8-1 and Legacy 10-1.
Early Tuesday afternoon, Post 88 relied on a four-run third inning and solid pitching to shut down another opponent –– Bloomington’s Central Illinois Predators, 6-0, in the semifinals of the 14th annual Top Collegiate Invitational at Millikin University.
“We had absolutely great pitching and defense, and the hitting came alive after the first pool game of tourney,” Mattoon coach Stacey Birdsong said. “Nice to see us stringing some hits together.”
Mattoon faces Normal’s Game 7 Legacy again in today’s championship at 4:15 p.m.
In Tuesday’s semifinal, Post 88 secured the victory thanks to four runs in the third inning. The offensive onslaught came from a home run by Lane Harrell and a double by Keagan Brady.
Hayden Birdsong and Coby Comstoick combined for the shutout. Birdsong did not allow a hit through the opening 3.1 innings, striking out four. He did not walk a batter. Comstock then scattered five hits across the final 3.2 innings.
“We will see good competition for the championship game, but it’s right where we want to be,” Stacey Birdsong said. “I’m happy for these guys to get a good opportunity to play a couple of extra games and to play for championship.”
Post 88 had lost 3-2 to Central Illinois on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning on Saturday.
2B: Ben Perry, Keagan Brady
HR: Lane Harrell
TB: Ben Perry 2, Sam Perry, Lane Harrell 5, Keagan Brady 2
RBI: Meade Johnson, Gavin Gonzalez, Lane Harrell, Keagan Brady
SF: Meade Johnson, Gavin Gonzalez
HBP: Gunner Laughhunn, Trevor Smyser 2
GIDP: Coby Comstock
CS: Jackson Nichols
Team LOB: 7
TB: Conway, Pembroke, Steelman 2, Hopper
FC: Hopper, Allen
Team LOB: 6
W: Hayden Birdsong
HBP: Coby Comstock
Pitches-Strikes: Hayden Birdsong 36-25, Coby Comstock 51-32
Groundouts-Flyouts: Hayden Birdsong 1-5, Coby Comstock 2-4
First pitch strikes-Batters faced: Hayden Birdsong 9-10, Coby Comstock 10-17
Information from Narrative Science and the app GameChanger Media were used in this report.
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