Pittsburg Post 64 had its fair share of scoring opportunities Thursday night during its 2-0 loss against Lawrence Post 14 — leaving 11 runners on base, including the bases loaded in the sixth and ninth innings.

Pittsburg Post 64 had its fair share of scoring opportunities Thursday night during its 2-0 loss against Lawrence Post 14 — leaving 11 runners on base, including the bases loaded in the sixth and ninth innings.

“I thought both teams pitched well,” Post 64 head coach Mike Watt said. “I thought both teams played good defense. We made mental mistakes on the bases early and they came up with big hits, we didn’t. It was like we talked about before, it was a game of missed opportunities. We had opportunities to score, we just couldn’t get anybody to come through with the big hit and they did. That’s just the difference in the game.”

Post 64 managed only five hits against Lawrence pitchers Cameron Solko and Troy Willoughby. Brett Macary led off the sixth with a single and then Sam Gilbert — the most consistent Post 64 hitter all season — almost put that first Post 64 run on the board with a ground-rule double. Macary would be thrown out during a 6-2 force play at the plate and Gilbert would be stranded at third with two other teammates in the sixth.

“If that ball stays in the park, we probably score a run there,” Watt said. “But we can’t count on that. We had six guys in scoring position, I believe, and we left them there. We had our opportunities. Give their pitchers credit because when they needed to shut the door they did and defensively, they turned four double plays. Mental mistakes on the bases early and just not hitting the ball. Like I said before, if we want to compete at a high level, we need to hit better. We’ve got to bounce back and play better tomorrow.”

Lawrence third baseman Aaron Gile (Barton County Community College) found himself in the middle of both Lawrence runs. In the third, he plated Willoughby with a RBI double. Tommy Oswald sacrificed Willoughby into scoring position for Gile. In the fifth, a half-inning before Post 64 approached the scoreboard, Gile smacked his second double of the evening and scored on an Aaron Waldeck (St. James Academy) single.

On defense, Gile threw out Christian Cedeno at home for the first out in the second and then Lawrence turned a double play as Joe Wimmer popped out and Blake Vail was doubled off at first. Vail nearly beat out a grounder with the bases loaded in the sixth but diving first baseman Montana Samuels just beat a diving Vail to the bag. Lawrence turned a 1-6-3 double play to emerge unscathed from the eighth after Cody Grilz laced a single.

Post 64 starter Matt Standlee allowed two runs on six hits and one Post 64 error. He struck out seven over six innings. V.J. Piccini came on in relief and did his job with two shutout innings, leaving Pittsburg down 2-0 headed into the ninth.

Lawrence sits in the driver’s seat — waiting on the winner of the Pittsburg-Tonganoxie game (4 p.m. start) in the championship game tonight. Pittsburg or Tonganoxie would have to knock off Lawrence twice for the Zone title — once tonight, once Saturday morning.

“It’s going to be hot,” Watt said. “We’re just going to have come out here and battle through it and hopefully win two games.”

Lawrence 18, Tonganoxie 12:

Over what amounted to a three-inning stretch, Lawrence and Tonganoxie combined for 21 runs on 19 hits late in the game. Tonganoxie recovered from a 8-1 deficit and forced tie scores at 11 and 12 before Lawrence exploded for six runs on six hits in the ninth.

Lawrence outfielder John Fellers (Free State) proved impossible for Tonganoxie pitchers Wyatt Farris, Travis Woods and Ty Hampton to get out Thursday. Fellers went 5-for-5 with five singles — including a crucial bunt single in the ninth to load the bases —and reached all six times he stepped in the box. Fellers, batting in the nine hole, drove in two and scored two runs.

Troy Willoughby and C.J. Roush provided the highlights of the rally with consecutive two-run doubles. Corbin Francisco later hit a RBI double. By the time it was all over, Lawrence gave reliever Willoughby a six-run lead and he closed the door on Tonganoxie 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Give Tonganoxie credit. Down by seven runs with the run-rule a possibility on the horizon, Tonganoxie created a brand new game with six runs in the sixth and four in the seventh. Nate Hays drove in three runs (two in the sixth, one in the seventh) on singles and Ty Hampton, Jeremy Wagner and Cody Saladin added RBI hits.

2012 American Legion Class AAA Zone Tournament (Pittsburg)
Lawrence Post 14 2, Pittsburg Post 64 0
PITT    000 000 000 — 0 5 1
LAW    001 010 00X — 2 7 1
Matt Standlee, V.J. Piccini (7) and Dylan Gromer. Cameron Solko, Troy Willoughby (8) and Landon Hay. WP: Solko. LP: Standlee. 2B: Sam Gilbert; Aaron Gile 2. SB: Gilbert, Christian Cedeno. CS: Aaron Waldeck. SH: Tommy Oswald. HBP: Cody Grilz. LOB: PITT 11, LAW 8.

Lawrence Post 14 18, Tonganoxie Post 41 12
LAW    104 030 316 — 18 23 3
TON    001 006 410 — 12 12 3
Trent Johnson, Corbin Francisco (7), Troy Willoughby (7) and Landon Hay. Wyatt Farris, Travis Woods (6), Ty Hampton (9) and Calvin Booth. WP: Willoughby. LP: Woods. 2B: Aaron Gile, Willoughby, C.J. Roush, Corbin Francisco; Jeremy Wagner. 3B: Francisco. SB: Roush, Francisco. SF: Willoughby, Gile. HBP: Roush 2, John Fellers, Gile, Hay. LOB: LAW 14, TON 10.