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Great Lakes Regional 2

Danville Post 210 starter Mason Ecker throws a pitch during the first inning of Saturday's Great Lakes Regional semifinal vs. Gladwin County Post 171 (Mich.) at EIU. Danville and Ecker won 7-5 to advance to Sunday's finals. Danville swept Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 on Sunday to earn a spot in the American Legion World Series.

CHARLESTON -- Danville Post 210 is on to the American Legion World Series.

Post 210 swept Beverly/Lowell (Ohio) Post 389/750 Sunday, winning the first game 14-6 and the second 4-3 to clinch the regional title. Trevor Davis hit a walk-off fielder's choice with the bases loaded and two outs to break a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning. Davis' hard grounder traveled toward third, but Chase Vinson beat the third baseman to third base, ending the game and ensuring the run counted. Danville allowed the tying run to score in the top half of the frame on a two-out, two-strike single.

It's Danville's first regional title. The world series starts Aug. 15 in Shelby, N.C.

Ernest Plummer, a Danville graduate, was named tournament MVP. He went 8-for-8 on Sunday.

In Saturday's semifinals, Danville eliminated Gladwin County (Mich.) Post 171 7-5 Saturday in the semifinals to advance to the championship game Sunday at Eastern Illinois, but not without surviving a shaky first inning. Beverly/Lowell defeated Swoyersville (Pa.) Post 644 9-8 in nine innings after it allowed five runs in the seventh to force extras.

Saturday's games

Danville 7, Gladwin County 5

Danville started out with a bang, scoring five runs in the top of the first on four hits.

The bottom of the first resembled an inning in Friday's 16-15 loss to Beverly/Lowell, as Gladwin County took advantage of five walks in scoring four runs without a hit. 

"That was not like him," Danville coach Allan Shepherd said of starter Mason Ecker, a recent grad of Paxton-Buckley-Loda. "Usually he is a guy that pounds the zone. We stayed with him. We didn't have a whole lot of choices after Friday's game. He just calmed down. He was way over-excited with a lot of adrenaline and that is why everything was up. Once he calmed down he did fine."

Ecker allowed four hits and no runs in the five other innings he pitched. Dalont Dalbey pitched the final inning and earned the save. 

Danville was helped by stellar defensive play of Chase Vinson, who is Post 210's second player to have played four years in the Senior Division. Vinson, a first baseman, dove to his right in the third inning nabbing a ball that appeared destined to right field. So much, in fact, that he doubled off the Gladwin County runner on third to end the inning. 

"It shows that he has played four years at this level," Shepherd said. "It shows in his leadership. He is going to dive and he is going to do what he has got to do to get an out. Thankfully, he had some opportunities today. I trust him with everything."

Danville, who has been the regional runner-up twice, added two runs with two outs in the fifth. Vinson drew a full-count walk and went to second on a ground out. Lucas Hofer reached on an infield hit. It looked like Post 171 was going to get out of the inning on a caught stealing, but the ball was dropped at second on a double steal as Vinson scored. Jake Stipp singled to right, driving in Hofer. 

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"About the fourth inning we saw Eckert just kind of settle in and take some big deep breaths. We felt better about our chances then," said Shepherd. 

Gladwin County, seven hours away from Charleston, had about 50 fans form a tunnel as the team broke their post-game talk and gave them one final round of applause for the first team in program history to advance to the Great Lakes Regional. 

"We have had great support," said Gladwin County coach Terry Brokoff. "The kids have been great. We never expected this at the start of the year. We won five tournaments and the only team that beat us in a tournament (prior to Saturday) was the team that won the tournament. To only lose six games out of 45 is pretty amazing."

Danville's Leadoff batter, Ernest Plummer was 2-for-4 as was Logan Spicer, who drove in two runs. Gage Romack was 2-for-3 with two RBIs for  Post 210, who improved to 34-8. 

Carson Longstreth, who finished the tournament with a .667 batting average with 10 hits (6 doubles), was 2-for-4, while Jonas Kanouse was 1-for-4 with two RBIs for Gladwin County. 

"We played good games all the way through until we ran out of pitchers," Brokoff said. "We really hit well and the pitching has been there for the most part. I wish more people were playing American Legion baseball. It has been great for us for 28 years. The reason we do it is to make sure 18 more good kids from around the area are playing good baseball for the right reasons."

Beverly/Lowell 9, Swoyersville 8

Swoyersville tied the game at two with two runs in the fourth. Beverly/Lowell answered with two runs in its half of fourth and added two more in the fifth and sixth for an 8-3 lead. 

Post 644 started the seventh inning with a single to right by Tyler O'Kane. Patrick Adamski doubled to right/center, driving in O'Kane. A double by Michael Kane scored Adamski and Nate Baranski's double to left drove in Kane making it 8-7. Colin Conway singles and with one out Stephen Banas reached on a fielder' choice to load the bases. Daniel Gibbons walked on four pitches, plating Conway to bring the game to a stalemate. 

Beverly/Lowell had a chance to end it in the seventh with runners on second and third with two outs when a ground ball to third ended the frame. 

In the ninth, Seth Dennis doubled to right to start the inning for the 34-8 Beverly/Lowell team. He moved to third on a groundout by Mason Long and scored when Nate Brothers hit a 2-2 pitch into left for a single. 

Tate Engle, an Ohio Valley University recruit, was 3-for-4 with four RBIs for B/L, while Long was 2-for-4 with three RBIs. 

For Swoyersville, who finished 28-6, Adamski was 3-for-4 (finished with a .429 batting average during the tournament), while leadoff batter Garrett Vought was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. 

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Contact Mike Monahan at (217) 238-6854. Follow him on Twitter: @monahanmikegjtc

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Sports writer

Mike Monahan covers area sports for the JG-TC.

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