TORONTO - Wayne County's Brodie Arnette couldn't have picked a better time to deliver his only hit in Monday's game against Post 86.
A strikeout victim in his two previous plate appearances, the second baseman launched the home half of the eighth when he lined a shot to center and hustled his way to a double. He would score what proved to be the game-winning run one batter later as Jarod Detweiler laced a two-bagger to center. Brock Kline's run-scoring single plated the insurance tally as the Gunslingers held off Toronto 9-7.
With the victory, Barry Craddock's club, now 21-12, advances in the winner's bracket of the eighth-annual Carl "Dutch" Nordenger Memorial District 10 American Legion Tournament. Wayne will return to the Knight Baseball Complex today for a 7 p.m. match against Tusky County.
Toronto, 8-26, will look to avoid elimination when it meets Massillon at 4 p.m. today on its home field.
"It was a tough game and we battled hard," Craddock said. "We didn't play real well in the infield (Wayne was guilty of three errors) but our pitchers did well and we got the clutch hits when we needed them."
Wayne jumped on Toronto's Seth Cox for two runs in the first and a single run in the third. Brendon Taylor's double and Scott Williams' single brought home the initial inning tallies after two men were retired. Detweiler's triple accounted for the third score.
Cox settled down after the three-bagger and retired eight straight, six by the strikeout route. The Gunslingers did get to the right-hander for four in the seventh before the decisive eighth-frame rally.
As good as Cox was, Wayne's Corey Brumfield was a little bit better through the first six frames, allowing just three hits and fanning a half dozen.
Toronto finally got to Brumfield in the seventh, pushing across five runs. Spenser Sninchak reached on an error and Brad Melville followed with a walk. Both advanced on a John Romey sacrifice. John Marriner drove them both home with a single to center.
Marriner scampered across the plate when Seth Wilson hammered one up the middle. Tyler Owens followed with a base knock and Austin Lucas ripped a triple up the alley in left center to put Post 86 on top 5-3.
The Gunslingers regained the advantage (7-5) by scoring four in their half of the inning. Steve Sninchak's unit came right back in the eighth, scoring twice.
Melville got things going when he blasted a double to deep left. He moved to third on a pass ball and scored following a close call at the plate following a second miscue by the Wayne catcher. Romey singled and Marriner greeted new Wayne pitcher Williams with a base knock. Romey would score when Wilson reached via a Gunslinger error.
"I'm proud of the guys for the way they played," Sninchak noted. "They hung in there. They could have put their heads down early but they didn't. Instead they battled and that was the best game we played all year."
The Toronto skipper added he told his guys "to be a little more selective on pitches" late in the contest.
"We went up with a good approach, got a little more disciplined and were able to get on him."
Lucas paced the 11-hit Post 86 attack with a triple, two singles and two RBIs. Romey and Marriner both had two base hits.
Sninchak praised Cox's performance, saying "he pitched a heck of a game and kept us in it. We battled and I'm proud of them, they battled hard."
NOTES: Thanks to the luck of the draw, the District 10 champion and runner-up both will advance to the state tournament in Athens. That opportunity occurred when the two teams involved in District 12 decided not to compete for a trip to Ohio University.
The three districts with the most teams were involved in a draw and District 10 emerged victorious. The runner-up will travel south as the District 12 representative.
Wayne County 9, Post 86 7
Post 86 000 000 520 - 7 11 1
Wayne 210 000 42x - 9 12 3
Post 86 (8-26): Cox (LP, 12K 1W) and King; Lucas 2S, T, 2 RBI; Romey 2S; Marriner 2S RBI; Melville D; Owens S; Sninchak S; Wilson S.
Wayne (21-12): Brumfield (7K, 2W) Williams (WP, 8, 0K, 0BB) and Vernier; Detweiler T, D, S, 2RBI; Williams D, S, 3RBI.