There was no shortage of action in Kirksville Friday, as Columbia's Post 202 team beat St. Charles Post 312 in the American Legion Baseball Tournament at North Park Complex.
Post 202 celebrated its win as Kyle Smith ran the bases after hitting a home run in the 10th inning to win the game.
"I'm still speechless and beside myself," Smith said. "We came out pretty flat, we didn't have any energy, we came back thought and played good the last three innings."
Post 202 coach Jim Dapkus was pleased with his players' performances and Smith's winning hit.
"It was a big hit, at a big time," Dapkus said.
Going into the sixth inning, 202 was down 8-2 after Post 312 had an encouraging third inning. Tony Shipley hit a home run, and Kyle Christiansen hit a double to drive in Matt Campbell. In the fifth inning Post 312 held its lead with four runs and Post 202 pitcher Himmelberg was relieved by Ryan Concannon.
Post 202's Chris Nichols brought the team to life with a home run in the seventh, starting a rally for Post 202 in the eighth. The team scored three runs to bring the game within two of Post 312.
Jacob Kemper hit a double to center field, scoring Smith and Johnny Kruse for Post 202. Tyler Jones also scored for Post 202 in the eighth.
In the ninth inning Joseph Montgomery hit a sacrifice fly, sending in Smith. Post 202 ended the ninth with two runs and its first lead in the game.
"We've been doing it all summer and we've just been able to play with a lot of confidence and that was the first time in a while we've been down," Dapkus said. "But the kids just figured it was possible to keep them around seven or eight runs and we able to pick up a couple of runs, and all of a sudden, the game that we were down by six going into the seventh inning, we got a shot,"
Post 312 came back bottom of the ninth to tie the game when Matt Campbell drove in Cory Elmendorf. Kyle Proebsting had a chance to win the game for Post 312 but Post 202 made a great double play with the bases loaded and ended the inning.
Smith's winning home run allowed Post 202 to advance to the Championship game Saturday in Kirksville in a double hitter.
Dapkus isn't surprised by his players' great comeback and close win.
"Their starting pitcher started getting maybe a little tired and we got a couple of extra guys on base and we're able to get it even closer," Dapkus said. "Then going into the ninth we've got the lead and we get the big double play that we need. And you know it's just one of those things where a lot of lucky things happen and we've been able to manage that all summer and you don't want to question why, you just hope that it keeps continuing"
St. Charles played Kirksville directly after Friday's game to determine who would play Columbia Saturday in the Championship game at 1:00 at North Park Complex in Kirksville.