The American Legion Baseball season is a short one, lasting a little over a month teams fly through their schedules quickly.
On Friday, Delaware American Legion Baseball crowned a new state champion, Delaware Post 1, who dethrones last year’s state champion, Canal Post 25.
Delaware Post 1 defeated the Post 10 Generals in a high-scoring state championship game, 10-9.
Even though a new champion now sits atop the league, the Post 6 Patriots made a triumphant return to Delaware American Legion Baseball, finishing with a winning record while also earning a spot in the state tournament.
Despite finishing behind Smyrna Post 14 (13-8) and Fox Post 2 (14-9) in the race for the Delaware Southern Division, Post 6’s 12-10 mark was good enough for 36 points, just three points behind the pace set by Post 14 and Post 2.
In the division standings, Post 6 finished ahead of Post 3 Milford (5-16) who struggled the majority of the season with a young club and defending state champion Canal Post 25 (12-12).
“It was positive and disappointing at the same time,” said Post 6 Manager Bryan Widdowson about his team’s season. “We had a much better team than I thought we had at the beginning of the year and we were in every game. We always seemed to play up or down to our opponents; a lot of that is my fault, but we had a lot of games where we had the lead and then wrapped up wins as Christmas presents to other teams.”
Post 6 opened the state tournament with an impressive victory over the eventual state runner-up, Post 10, winning 9-6 to advance on Saturday.
After rain delayed Monday’s games, the Patriots hit the diamond again on Tuesday taking on Dover’s Fox Post 2.
In the matchup with Fox Post, the game was tied 2-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning when Post 2 was able to bat home the winning run for a walk-off 3-2 win, handing Post 6 their first loss of the tournament.
On Wednesday, Post 6 was eliminated from the tournament, falling to Stahl Post 30, 9-1, despite out-hitting their opponents 8-4 in the game. Trailing early 1-0, Post 6 tied things up at 1-1 after five innings. However, Stahl Post would push runs across the plate in each of the next three innings including a four-run eighth inning to knock Post 6 out of the tournament.
“Some of it was dumb luck, we could get on base but couldn’t get hits with runners on,” Widdowson said. “In our last game, we had runners on base or in scoring positions for what seemed like the entire game, but couldn’t get them in.”
Despite coming up short of a state title, the Patriots saw a number of players step up and play well for a team that had been out of American Legion ball for the past three seasons.
Led by a strong core of Jordan Haddaway, K-Ci Widdowson, D.J. Allen, Dylan Allen, Noah Waldridge, Braydan Graham, Dylan Nibblett, Tyler DeFord and Jared Kay, they helped put Post 6 back on the Legion ball map.
“Hopefully this will garner some more interest, we’ll have the whole team back minus one kid from this years team,” Widdowson said. “I would say we performed above my expectations, this team impressed me and had me expecting even more at the end of the year.”