The Worthington Post 239 American Legion baseball team opened the state tournament last Monday with an 8-7 loss to Marysville Post 79A.

The Worthington Post 239 American Legion baseball team opened the state tournament last Monday with an 8-7 loss to Marysville Post 79A.

Post 239 failed to hold leads twice, finally giving up a run in the bottom of the eighth inning that broke a 7-all tie.

Post 239 scored a run in the first inning and three more in the second for a 4-0 lead, but Post 79A tied it with four runs in the third. Both teams scored twice in the fourth, and Post 239 scored once more in the fifth to make it 7-6 until Post 79A tied it with a run in the seventh.

"We played a pretty good game," Post 239 coach Jim Townsend said. "They had some breaks that went their way there in the eighth inning. We just have to be ready to keep playing."

Post 239 dropped to the one-loss bracket where it played Galion Post 243 last Tuesday.

The loser of that game was eliminated from postseason play. The winner played again last Tuesday against the winner of a game between Strongsville Post 795 and Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750, which also was played last Tuesday.

Last Monday's game was in stark contrast to Post 239's run to the District 12 championship.

Instead of filling its roster with developing high school players, Post 239 chose to go about business in the traditional sense of Legion baseball, a 19-and-under league.

Nearly all of its players either graduated high school in June or have been in college for one season. The few who still have high school eligibility left are going to be seniors.

After earning the top seed for the District 12 tournament and beating Columbus (Watterson) Post 82 16-5 for the district title on July 19, Townsend said his team was better prepared to make a run at the state championship.

"Our goal was to represent the district in the state tournament," said Townsend, whose team headed into the state tournament 28-4 overall. "We wanted to make sure that we represented our district well and teams from other districts are going to be older teams."

Despite the experience, the season wasn't without turbulence for a team that finished 15-1 in District 12 games.

Post 239 had to overcome struggles at the plate before it started rolling.

On June 24, Post 239 lost to Post 389/750 2-0 at the Watt-Bodnar Tournament in Steubenville despite getting a no-hitter from Upper Arlington graduate Matt Gibbs.

Thomas Worthington graduate Dominic Porretta, who made five appearances on the mound for Otterbein last spring, received a text message on his way down to the tournament that said his team wasn't able to produce enough runs to back up a no-hitter.

"When we had that no-hitter, I wasn't sure where the season is going to head," Porretta said. "We came back and beat some good teams and if you look at it, that was a turning point for us."

The following day, Post 239 poured on the runs, beating Bethel Park (Pa.) Post 760 13-3 in five innings.

Post 239 never scored fewer than eight runs in the next 12 games before last Monday's loss.

"I felt that our guys were too concerned with actually striking out and not taking good hard swings with less than two strikes," Townsend said. "In reality, we just have not seen the type of pitching that we saw in Steubenville. At the state tournament, we'll see that kind of pitching."