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.

MATTOON

LineupABRHRBI
Keagan Brady3111
Meade Johnson3001
Trevor Smyser2000
Gunner Laughhunn3000
Hayden Birdsong2000
Sam Perry2110
Ben Perry2110
Lane Harrell2121
Caleb Slater2100
Coby Comstock1000
Gavin Gonzalez1101
Jackson Nichols0000
Asher Prater0000
Totals23654

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

CENTRAL ILLINOIS
LineupABRHRBI
Brewer3000
Conway3010
Pembroke2010
Hopper3010
Pryer3000
Rutledge2000
Allen3000
Steelman3020
Diamond3000
Turley
Totals25050

TB: Conway, Pembroke, Steelman 2, Hopper 
FC: Hopper, Allen 
HBP: Pembroke 
GIDP: Pryer  

Team LOB: 6

Mattoon Pitching
PitchingIP#PS%HRERKBB
Hayden Birdsong3.136.69400040
Coby Comstock3.251.62750021
Totals7.087.65550061

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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