After dropping its first-round game of the District 12 tournament, the Dublin (Scioto) American Legion Post 800S baseball team put together three wins as it faced elimination before finally losing to third-seeded Grove City Post 164A 8-2 on July 23.

After dropping its first-round game of the District 12 tournament, the Dublin (Scioto) American Legion Post 800S baseball team put together three wins as it faced elimination before finally losing to third-seeded Grove City Post 164A 8-2 on July 23.

Post 800S finished 16-17 overall and 13-8 in District 12 play and lasted one game longer than last year's district tournament run.

Post 164A had been on a hot streak in the tournament, winning its first two games by 10 runs before falling to second-seeded Coffman Post 800C 14-11 the day before, and by the time Post 800S played Post 164A the pitching staff was exhausted.

"We did what we could with what we had to work with," Kula said. "Not having (Eric Stamets) and not having Seth Eller, it really hurt our pitching staff and it really hurt our lineup. It was good being able to bounce back in a couple of elimination games."

For that final game Stamets was nursing an injury after getting spiked in a regular-season game July 12. Seth Eller was on vacation and Matt Martin was shut down with a sore arm. Their absences took away three arms that had become regulars in the rotation. Stamets' job was to enter the game in the final innings if it was close and either shut the door on a comeback or keep Post 800S close enough for a rally.

Normally Josh Neace or Martin then would be called on in a setup role, but without Stamets and Martin coach Mike Kula asked Neace to extend himself more than usual. The senior responded with a couple of strong games, but the pitching staff had started to run out of gas by the time it faced Post 164A.

"(Neace) pretty much became the closer because Matt Martin's arm was sore," senior David McKinley said. "He pretty much had to pitch everyday. He shut down Jerome at the end of the game and then was ready to pitch the next day."

More than just developing pitching roles, the whole idea for the summer season was to prepare the Post 800S players, all of whom will be eligible to play for Scioto next spring, against competition that might be better than what they'll see from the average high school team next season.

They scheduled several select travel teams, including Cincinnati's Midland Indians, a team nationally known as a travel baseball power. They lost both games to the Indians on June 28, 8-0 and 6-5. The second game came down to the final out.

Post 800S was able to earn wins over select travel teams like the Columbus Cobras (6-3 on June 2) and Batavia's Ohio Heat (7-5 on July 10)

Kula's message after the season-ending loss was one of optimism. The team, he thought, had grown significantly since he had them at the end of last summer when it was getting ready to play a spring season without seniors. They now have the tools to improve on what they did last spring as district runners-up and are expected to have eight seniors to guide them.

"He pretty much just told us he was proud of the way we battled," McKinley said. "And the main point was how he thought we matured over the season and as a team. We're ready to win now in next spring because we'll have the whole team coming back."

Six players finished the season batting better than .300 -- Stamets (.406), Mike Henderson (.393), Eller (.338), McKinley (.310), Nick Gastaldo (.308) and Brandon Marker (.308).