ELY — Coming into Saturday’s District 8 Substate Qualifier, Virginia Post 239 wanted to get in and get out quickly as the top seed in the tournament.
A win over No. 8 Barnum meant they’d be off until Wednesday, giving them plenty of time to rest and fine tune things heading into the Substate Tournament.
Virginia made things as quick as they could, hanging 10 on the Bruins in the first inning on their way a to 14-0 five inning win. According to Post 239 head coach Tom Norman, their performance was befitting of a No. 1 seed in the tournament.
“It shows how much work our guys have put in and it’s a reward for having such a great season so far,” Norman said. “Their record shows it. How they’ve been playing shows it. The one-seed represents what they are this year. But we know at the end of the day, the seed doesn’t matter. I’m happy we were able to come in today and get the job done.”
Virginia’s offense was complimented by the pitching performance of Mason Carlson, who let up no runs on five hits and a walk while striking out three.
In the bottom of the first, Post 239 delivered the message they were looking to send, putting up 10 runs in quick succession to put the game out of reach.
Carlson brought in the first run on an RBI double to left-center field, scoring Landin McCarty who reached in the lead off spot with a single up the middle. Tom Nemanich then drove in two, scoring Nick Peters (reaching earlier on a shot to shallow right) and Carlson with a triple to right field.
Up 3-0 already, Daniel Moore scored one with a double to left-center. He was followed up by Ryan Scherf who etched a triple to right to score one more, giving Virginia the quick 5-0 lead.
A sacrifice fly from Ryan Hujanen scored Scherf and 239’s No. 9 hitter Cole Schaefer reached on a walk. Back at the top of the order, McCarty reached on an error from Barnum’s third baseman which allowed Schaefer to come home and score to make it 7-0. The error also allowed McCarty to reach third.
Peters brought him home with a double down the left field line. The shortstop then moved to third on a balk from Post 415 pitcher Anson Vargo and was soon brought home on a blooper to left from Carlson.
Carlson stole his way to second and came home moments later on a single up the right side from Nemanich.
The inning-by-inning scoring on the scoreboard at Veterans Memorial Field read “0” for Virginia under the first inning as it was only meant to display single digit numbers. Nevertheless, Post 239 led 10-0 after the first.
Carlson cruised on the pitcher’s mound in the top of the second just before Virginia added three more to their total in the home half of the inning.
With Hujanen, Nordby and Schaefer all reaching on singles, the bases were quickly loaded up. A wild pitch allowed every runner to advance, scoring Hujanen. A balk from reliever Cooper Hennager allowed Nordby to come home. Finishing things off, a single to shallow center from McCarty allowed Schaefer to safely score.
Carlson faced his biggest threat on the hill in the top of the third, giving up three hits in four at-bats to load the bases up. With one out, Carlson struck out Kristian Herman for the second out. Virginia closed out the inning quickly with the first baseman Nemanich fielding the ball to Carlson, who ran to first and tapped the bag for the third out, ending the threat.
Virginia had a quiet bottom of the third at the plate while Carlson went three up, three down in the top of the fourth to keep things moving.
Post 239 added their final run in the bottom of the fourth with Nordby scoring on a fielder’s choice. Carlson then finished things off in the top of the fifth, facing four batters to earn three outs.
Earning the 14-0 win, Virginia had defeated Barnum for the third time this season and the second time in three days. After the game, Norman acknowledged the challenges that come from trying to down a team thrice in one season.
“Everyone knows it’s tough to beat someone three times in anything. I’m happy we came out the way we did. We jumped on them early. You never know what you’re going to get playing a team so many times.”
With Carlson on the hill for all five innings, Norman was pleased with his effort and his ability to keep his pitch count low, meaning Virginia’s pitching staff should be at full strength when they kick things off on Wednesday at Substates.
“Since we have a couple days rest now, I wanted to throw one of my top guys out there to make sure he stays loose. We kept him under a certain pitch count so we should be guns blazing heading into Wednesday. We’re ready to go, we got everyone.”
Post 239 will be back in action on Wednesday in the Substate Tournament. Their opponent and game time has yet to be determined.