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Though Shelbyville American Legion Post 37 dropped its first two games and was eliminated from the Mid-South Regional in Enid, Okla., last week, Coach Jim Wiley said he's still proud of his baseball team.
"I'm not upset," he said. "I'm disappointed that we didn't go out there and beat somebody, but we're still state champs, and you can't take that great accomplishment away from these kids. That's something they can be very proud of."
Shelbyville fell, 18-4, in seven innings to host Enid, Okla., in the opener and then dropped the second game, 10-1, to Hattiesburg, Miss.
Shelbyville played the two best teams in the tournament: Enid and Hattiesburg met in the championship Monday, and Enid went on to win 8-3 behind a seven-run eighth inning.
As hot as Shelbyville's offense had been heading into the tournament, the team struggled in Oklahoma. Dylan Grandon and Eric Standafer were the only two to hit over .300. Grandon was 3-for-6 with a run scored, and Standafer was 3-for-7 with a run scored and an RBI.
The game against Hattiesburg game wasn't nearly as one-sided as the score shows. Ben Lady nearly pitched Shelbyville to victory.
"He pitched seven outstanding innings," Wiley said.
Lady allowed just five hits and two runs through seven innings, but he started to wear down in eighth.
"You could see he just started to get tired," Wiley said. "After that we had to use four more pitchers - we just couldn't get an out."
Shelbyville had led, 1-0, through the first five innings on Standafer's RBI single in the first.
But Hattiesburg picked up two runs in the sixth and added another in the eighth. The floodgates then opened in the ninth, when seven runs scored.
"We just couldn't score in that game," Wiley said. "I thought we played pretty well. Lady was outstanding, but we just couldn't hit, and then we couldn't pitch late in the game."
Shelby left nine runners on base, including leaving the bases loaded in the fourth.
Enid, Okla., 18, Post 37 4
Post 37 struck first but didn't have the firepower to hang with host Enid on Thursday.
Jordan Toby's single scored Grandon in the bottom of the second, and James Wright's infield single scored Standafer to put Shelby in front, 2-0.
But Enid took advantage of a poor defensive inning from Shelby in the third, scoring five runs on just one hit, an RBI single. The rally was kept alive by three errors.
Shelby cut the lead to one with two runs in the fourth. Toby scored on a wild pitch, and Wright came in on JoJo Simms' single.
"They had a guy [Tombin Mateychick] throwing 90 miles per hour all night," Wiley said. "He was 6-foot-5 and going to Wichita State, and he got drafted. We had a little trouble catching up with him, and we made a couple mistakes that let them get up."
But in the top of the fifth, Enid responded again, this time with eight runs on seven hits, including a grand slam, and one Shelby error.
Enid tacked on four more runs in the sixth and one in the seventh for the final score.