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."