If the Eureka Post 177 senior legion baseball club is going to make it back to the Missouri Legion State Tournament this summer, it will have the be the hard way.
Eureka had a great chance to start the Zone 4 Tournament off on the right foot but after battling to a 1-1 deadlock after seven innings, a three-run eighth by host Festus did Post 177 in and Eureka fell 4-1 to Festus in the tournament opener Friday afternoon at West City Park.
“It was 1-1 after seven innings and we committed a couple of errors and they (Festus) got a couple of hits and scored three and we failed to get anything back in the last couple of at bats,” Eureka associate coach Cam Phillips said.
Eureka (18-20) wasted a top-shelf pitching performance from ace Brennen Lummus.
Lummus went seven and a third innings, striking out 8 and walking just two before being relieved in the top of the eighth.
“Brennen gave us a great chance to win and gave us a hell of an effort on the mound,” Phillips said. “You couldn’t ask for much more from him. We just had some tough luck getting runners in to score.”
Post 177, which managed just four hits, broke on top in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI-single by Chad Jones, who drove in Timmy Larrigan from third. Larrigan singled and advanced to second on a passed ball and was sacrified to third.
Festus (18-10) came back with a run in the bottom of the fifth to tie it at 1-1.
Lummus was rolling along until the top of the eigthth and then Festus chased Lummus with a hit and a couple of Eureka errors got a run across. Two more runs would score and Festus grabbed a 4-1 lead.
“”They got a couple of hits, we committed a couple of errors and they kind of got up on us then,” Phillips said.
Despite the opening round setback, Phillips believes Eureka will bounce back well game two tomorrow at 1 p.m. as Post 177 looks to stay alive in the tournament against Rock Memorial.
“We usually see them two times a year and this year we did not see them in the regualr season but we know they are tough and will be ready to play,” Phillips said. “We have a veteran group and they know it what it took to win this last year and now they have got to work a little harder this time around. We think we can still make a run though and this guys will come out Friday and lay it all on the line.”