WARRENTON - The Empire didn’t have to strike back Saturday.
It’s first blows were enough to sink the Rebels for Galaxy supremacy as Rhineland Post 147 swept Warrenton VFW Post 2180 by scores of 7-1 and 7-5 in a Junior Legion Ninth District doubleheader at the high school on Star Wars Day, a fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
While Warrenton didn’t experience a victory on the diamond, the event itself felt like a huge triumph. Attendees got to hang out and take photos with their favorite characters from the eponymous 1977 film and franchise, thanks to the 501st Legion, a Star Wars costuming organization. And each team wore commemorative jerseys for the occasion with Warrenton as the Rebels and Rhineland as the Empire. The only thing missing were lightsaber bats and who knows, that may come in the future.
“We raised over $600 for the JDRF,” Post 2180 Manager Kenneth Dildine said. “We lost both games, but it was a really great day. We had fun, there were a lot of characters around and we raised a lot of money for a good cause. We’re hoping we can continue with what we’re doing and have an even better turnout for this next year.”
RHINELAND 7, WARRENTON 1
Post 147 went ahead early and never looked back in Game 1, plating all of its runs in the first two innings with three in the first frame and four in the second.
Warrenton starting pitcher Ryan McNee threw a complete game and settled down after a rocky start, giving up just one base knock in the final four innings. He allowed five earned runs and eight hits with three strikeouts and four free passes.
Warrenton tallied its only run in the fifth. Colton Dyche led off the inning with a single to center. Dyche’s courtesy runner advanced to second after Josh Dames was hit by a pitched and scored on a hard hit ball up the middle by Nate McGee.
McGee paced the Post 2180 with two of its five hits. In addition to Dyche, Tyler Conoyer and Jack Russell both singled for the offense, which stranded nine runners and struck out in eight at-bats while drawing five walks.
RHINELAND 7, WARRENTON 5
Warrenton’s bats were much better in Game 2, but 11 hits still wasn’t enough to take out Post 147.
Playing at the visiting team, Warrenton scored all five of its runs in a monster second inning, which included a two-run single by Dyche and a three-run base knock from McGee.
But Post 2180 only had the lead momentarily. After scoring three runs in the first frame, Rhineland knotted things up a two-spot in the bottom of the second. Rhineland broke the tie on a go-ahead RBI double in the fourth and added an insurance tally in the sixth.
McGee was once again the driving force of Warrenton’s offense. He was 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Dakota Ball also had three hits. Paul Clancy had a multi-hit game and Russell and Tyler Gehrs each reached base twice and scored a run with a walk and a single.