It's amazing how much difference 24 hours can make.

It's amazing how much difference 24 hours can make.

One day after suffering an 18-5 loss to Northwest (Upper Arlington) Post 443, the Southway (Central Crossing) American Legion Post 144A baseball team stayed alive in the losers bracket of the District 12 tournament with a 19-5 win over Don Gentile (Westland) Post 532W last Sunday.

"We had a few hiccups, but then we came back and played well," coach Royce Duffy said.

The win advanced the team to a second-round game in the losers bracket last Monday against Columbus (Watterson) Post 82. Southway beat Post 82 8-5 on July 15.

Against Post 532W, the offense got rolling early as the team scored eight runs in the first inning. It continued to roll as the team scored in every inning after that except for the second.

Jake Duffy went 4-for-5, Cameron Pilkington was 2-for-3, Frank Spradlin was 3-for-4 with a sacrifice fly and Cody McManaway had a solo home run.

"We were better prepared," coach Duffy said last Sunday. "I told them before the game that we had to play well. Westland has routinely struggled since they started their program, but after (last Saturday) we could've held a clinic on everything to do not to win."

Against Post 443, the team did not start the game well. Post 443 scored 10 runs in the first inning, six of them coming before the first out was recorded.

"We just didn't come to play," coach Duffy said. "I don't know what everybody expected, but we just weren't ready. We came early to take batting practice but mentally and physically we weren't ready to play. On top of that we had some bad breaks that weren't anybody's fault and you just can't recover from that."

Jared Weber and Jake Duffy echoed coach Duffy's feelings about how the team played in the loss.

"We just weren't ready to play today," Weber said. "I don't think we were mentally prepared to play."

"We didn't come here ready to play and it's hard to be successful when that happens," the younger Duffy said.

Southway managed to score two runs in each the fourth and fifth inning, but by then the damage was done.

"When you dig yourself a hole that big, it's hard to come back," the younger Duffy said. "I thought when we got those runs that if we could cut the lead to four or five then we could've stayed with it. You never feel like you're going to lose but the chances of winning get dimmer the more and more they score."

After a slow start, Post 144A started to play better and ended up finishing 8-8 in the league and 14-18 overall in the regular season. For a team that was rebuilding and had a lot of new players, finishing at .500 in the league could be a good indication of things to come.

"My main goal to start the season was to get through each game," coach Duffy said. "I knew we were very, very raw. It wasn't that we played poorly, but some of these players had never played together before. We started off losing a lot of games in a row; we struggled. But I think the players started understanding that we had what we needed to play competitively.

"When we first started off, we had such a hodgepodge of players and I'm pleased with where we ended up. We rebuilt a core that we were trying to do before and some of these players will be back the next couple years."