Memorable playoff run ends in semis for Legion Post 24

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(Front row, l-r) Joe Peccia, Justin Wenstrom, Max Tarlin, Matt Casamento, Jake Marglous, Rob Sullivan, coach Al Jackson; (back row, l-r) head coach Greg Lyons, Aidan Arnold, Andrew Filipkowski, Andrew Bryant, Ryan Sullivan, Mike McMahon, Luke Johnson, Jack Connelly, and coach Walter Mann. (Mike Berger photo)

(Front row, l-r) Joe Peccia, Justin Wenstrom, Max Tarlin, Matt Casamento, Jake Marglous, Rob Sullivan, coach Al Jackson; (back row, l-r) head coach Greg Lyons, Aidan Arnold, Andrew Filipkowski, Andrew Bryant, Ryan Sullivan, Mike McMahon, Luke Johnson, Jack Connelly, and coach Walter Mann. (Mike Berger photo)

All good things must come to an end, and for the Canton American Legion Post 24 baseball team, that was the painful reality they faced last week as the squad lost a heartbreaker to Quincy 10-9 in nine innings in the District 6 semifinals.

It was evident late in Tuesday’s game — after a grueling playoff drive — that neither team had any pitching left, and when Quincy scored the final run around 7:45 p.m., they had only 30 minutes to celebrate before facing a more refreshed Braintree team in the championship game. The final result was a 5-1 victory for Braintree, which advanced to the state Legion finals in Worcester last weekend.

For Canton, the semifinal finish was the furthest a Post 24 team had advanced in the modern era and gave the team a final record of 15-9 —with three of its wins coming against eventual champ Braintree.

Head coach Greg Lyons agreed that there was nothing more he could have asked from his players and was very proud of their accomplishments.

“Although our loss to Quincy was not the result we were hoping for and I know that the kids were disappointed, they still went down fighting and left it all out on the field and that is all I asked of them,” he said. “A few weeks back we talked as a team about summer baseball and how it can sometimes be tough with jobs and other commitments but how when we got to the field we had to be ready to give it 100 percent, no matter what.”

“We also discussed how, when we put on the green and gray Canton-Post 24 uniform, we represent the post, who is very generous and supportive in helping us to field a team every summer, as well as representing myself and all our coaches, themselves, their families and their high schools,” added Lyons. “I think the messages were heard loud and clear as we really played our best and highest level of baseball towards the end of the season. That being said, there was no shortage of bad luck, injuries and conflicts, that the team battled through and overcame, which really shows their true character.”

Tuesday’s game with Quincy, played in intermittent rain at Braintree High School, was a seesaw affair and Canton showed its resilience in battling back from several deficits.

Post 24 got the scoring going on an Aidan Arnold RBI in the top of the first, but the lead quickly dissolved in the bottom half of the inning as Quincy scored five runs to take a 5-1 lead.

However, Canton fought back to tie the game at 5-5 on an RBI walk by Andrew Filipkowski, RBI singles by Ryan Sullivan and Andrew Bryant, and a sacrifice fly by Arnold.

After Quincy scored four more runs to regain the lead, Canton again fought its way back with a run in the top of the fifth and three more in the sixth to tie the game at 9-9. Joe Peccia drove in two of the runs with a walk and a sacrifice fly, while Arnold and Mike McMahon each had RBI hits to aid the comeback.

Post 24 had a chance to take the lead in the top of the eighth when an error, a bunt base hit by Filipkowski, and a walk loaded the bases with two outs. But a deep fly out by Bryant ended the rally.

The game ended in the bottom of the ninth as Quincy pushed home the winning run on a walk and three successive hits. The loss was Canton’s second of the postseason, both of which came against Quincy. Overall, the team finished at 3-2 in the playoffs, including wins against Foxboro and the top two seeds in District 6: No. 1 Franklin and No. 2 Braintree.

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