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Leesburg Rangers fall in American Legion regional opener

The defending regional champion Leesburg Rangers of Post 34 got off to a rough start Wednesday night in the American Legion Mid-Atlantic Region Senior Baseball Tournament, losing 11-2 to the Pennsylvania champion from Ephrata Post 429 inside Fireman's Field in Purcellville.

The Rangers (15-12) carried a 2-1 lead into the fourth inning, but Ephrata (27-5) tallied four runs in the fourth and six more in the seventh - the latter rally happening entirely with two outs.

"We have to learn to stop the bleeding," Leesburg head coach Brenton Peters said. "After that, we put up some zeros, kept runners at bay. We just left too many runners on base."

In the double-elimination tournament, the Rangers will face the Pennsylvania runner-up

After Ephrata's Dillon Good blasted a solo home run in the second, Leesburg's Kurtis Meyer singled in the home half, eventually scoring on a game-tying balk.

The hosts took the lead in the third when Hunter Keim tucked a looper just inside the right-field line for a two-out double, then scampered home when Greyson Rauch lined a single to right.

Keim, Rauch and catcher Brandon Kelman each knocked a pair of hits to lead the Rangers.

In the fourth, Ephrata took the lead back for good. A throwing error let in the tying run, and a string of RBI singles put the Pennsylvania champs up 5-2.

Mike Mozeyko got the start for Post 34, allowing six hits and five runs in four innings, notching four strikeouts. Lefty Wes Glass tossed two scoreless, and Cameron Taylor came on to retire all seven batters he faced, striking out three.

Leesburg stranded eight on base.

"We're in a whole different echelon of competition now," Peters said. "You can't make three errors, you can't leave all those people in scoring position. We did that tonight and you saw the results. We left the door open and they kicked it in."

Peters expressed optimism that the next day would go better for the local club.

"Some of our guys had to get their jitters out, get out in front of the crowd," he said. "When we come out [Thursday], that all should be done and we should be white-line focused."

American Legion Mid-Atlantic Senior Baseball Tournament

Wednesday's scores
Hopewell (NJ) 10, Rockland (NY) 3
LaPlata (MD) 12, Wesleyville (PA-B) 2
Wilmington (DE) 5, Albemarle (VA) 2
Ephrata (PA-A) 11, Leesburg (Host) 2

Thursday's schedule
Albemarle (VA) vs. Rockland (NY)*
Wesleyville (PA-B) vs. Leesburg (Host)*
Hopewell (NJ) vs. Wilmington (DE)
LaPlata (MD) vs. Ephrata (PA-A)

*Elimination game


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