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Despite a lopsided loss in the District 4 Tournament championship game, the Shelbyville American Legion Post 37 baseball team is headed back to defend its state title.
Post 37 won its first two games of the double-elimination district tourney before losing back-to-back games to host Ashland Post 76, including, 12-1, Thursday afternoon in a mercy-rule-shortened championship game.
“Baseball is one of those games where one day you can beat anybody and the next day you can’t beat anybody,” said Shelbyville Manager Jim Wiley, whose team is 12-13. “That’s the way we played there.”
Shelbyville edged Morehead Post 126, 4-3, Tuesday afternoon, then used a 15-run ninth inning to annihilate Ashland, 18-6, later that night. The latter victory earned it a spot in next week’s state tournament at Campbellsville.
Post 76, though, came back to beat Post 37, 6-3, Wednesday night, before slamming Shelbyville in seven innings Thursday.
State tournament pairings hadn’t been announced at press time, but play is slated to begin Tuesday and run through Aug. 4 at Campbellsville University.
“We’re almost in the same situation we were in last year,” said Wiley, whose team finished as the district runner-up last year before reeling off four consecutive victories to win its sixth state title.“Does that mean anything? No, but we can remember that.”
In its first game against Ashland, Shelbyville trailed, 6-3, entering the top of the ninth inning before scoring a baker’s dozen plus two worth of runs.
“Craziest thing I’ve ever seen,” Wiley said.
Zac Wiley’s 2-run single tied the score, then Post 37, which sent 10 batters to the plate before Ashland recorded an out, took the lead on a bases-loaded hit by pitch.
Shelbyville batted through the lineup twice in that inning, recording nine hits and seeing eight batters reach base via walk or because of being hit by a pitch.
Post 76 then outlasted Post 37 Wednesday night before making quick work of Shelbyville on Thursday as Wiley, having already clinched a state berth, rested some of his pitchers.
“When you play that many games, you’re short on pitching,” he said. “That probably took its toll on us. I felt like we made some mistakes that hurt us [too].
“What we’ve got to do now is get rested up for the state tournament. I feel like we can compete there.”
District 4 tournament
Shelbyville Post 37 4, Morehead Post 126 3
Morehead 020 000 100 – 3 10 1
Shelbyville 100 012 00X – 4 7 1
Collett and Whitt. Lance Shelton, Dan Sanders (7), Buddy Johnson (8) and Zac Wiley. W – Shelton. L – Collett. 2B – J.D. Wagoner (M), Cory Christy (M), Wiley (S).
Ashland Post 76 8, Latonia Post 203 3
Shelbyville 18, Ashland 6
Latonia 6, Morehead 4 (Morehead eliminated)
Ashland 10, Latonia 9 (Latonia eliminated)
Ashland 6, Shelbyville 3
Ashland 12, Shelbyville 1