Cassville Post 118 ends 2009 season with third place finish at district tournament

Thursday, July 23, 2009
Post 118 wins third place district trophy Democrat Photo The Cassville Irwin-Easley Post 118 American Legion baseball team, pictured above, finished third in the district tournament this past week. The squad's impressive run in districts was a great way to end of successful 2009 season. In the front row, from left, are: Blake Dilbeck, Riley Veith, Josh Dyer, James Musick, Colton Beck, Travis Northern and Josh Hartin. Second row: Assistant Coach Kevin Schlessman, Tyler Reagan, Ricky Vanderpool, Kyle Rhea, Aaron Brooks, Jon Riley, Cody Cantwell, Coach Jeremy Marple and Assistant Coach Roger Brock. Absent from the photo are Taran Holt, John Cavness, Evan Stubblefield, Bo Blisard and manager Pete Landstad.

The Carthage Merchants first beat the Miller 39ers, 9-5, and then edged Cassville's Irwin-Easley Post 118 by a 9-8 score on Sunday afternoon at Carl Lewton Stadium in Carthage.

The Merchants advanced to the American Legion District 15 championship game against Nevada on Monday. Post 118 received the third place trophy following the game, and the team ended its season with a 3-2 run in the tourney.

Reaching the finals was an improbable journey for Carthage. After losing early in the week, the Merchants battled through the brutal loser's bracket schedule, which included playing back-to-back nine inning games on Sunday.

Post 118 led early, 4-2, and added another pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning for a 6-2 advantage. Carthage answered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, another score in the fifth and took the lead with a four-run outburst in the seventh inning.

"It was a well-played game," said Post 118 Coach Jeremy Marple. "Travis Northern pitched seven good innings for us, and Jon Riley finished it. We had the lead runs on base in the top of the ninth inning. If their center fielder doesn't make that diving catch, we would have scored at least two."

Lefthander John Cavness led the Irwin-Easley attack with two hits and a pair of RBI. Kyle Rhea also had two hits while knocking in a run.

"Our kids had a really good year," said Marple. "We only had five players return from last year's team, and we had a slow start. But the kids played hard and improved, and I am really proud of them."

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