Virginia Junior Legion falls in extra innings

ESKO — The Virginia Junior American Legion baseball season came to an end Wednesday, as Post 239 fell to Taconite 6-5 in eight innings in an elimination game at the substate tournament in Esko.

Virginia starting pitcher Mason Carlson threw the first five innings, allowing four earned runs and striking out three. Tom Nemanich pitched the final three innings, giving up the other two runs.

At the plate, Nick Peters led the way with a pair of doubles. Ryan Hujanen finished 2-3, Carlson had a pair of hits and Landin McCarty had a single.

Taconite grabbed the early lead, scoring two runs each in the top of the first and third innings.

Playing catchup, Virginia answered with two runs of their own in the third, one in the fourth and one in the fifth. Taconite grabbed another run to take lead 5-4 in the top of the seventh, but Virginia managed to tie things up again to send the game into extra innings.

A spot in the substate championship on the line, Taconite added one more run in the eighth and kept Post 239 off the scoreboard in the home half of the inning, eliminating Virginia from postseason play.

Despite the loss, Virginia Junior Legion head coach Tom Norman had only positive things to say about his team’s play to close out the season.

“We battled back,” Norman said. “I’m very proud of how they played. They had a great season and they played their hearts out. I’m definitely going to miss them all. But Virginia baseball looks to be on the rise. They’re going to have a good few years ahead of them I think.”

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