Delaware Veterans Post One completed its run to the American Legion World Series baseball championship Tuesday night in Shelby, N.C., with a 1-0 win in eight innings over Nevada Post 40 out of Las Vegas. It was the first American Legion championship in state history.
Graduates of and current students at St. Mark’s High School, St. Elizabeth High School and Salesianum School played key roles in the team’s run, including in the decisive eighth inning. Salesianum graduate Michael Cautillo worked a walk to open the inning. St. Mark’s alumnus Chris Ludman advanced him with a sacrifice bunt, bringing Ludman’s former Spartans teammate, Austin Colmery, to the plate.
Colmery sent a 2-2 pitch up the middle for a single, and Cautillo never hesitated rounding third base. His headfirst slide was just enough to beat the throw from Nevada center fielder Jason Sharman, and the Post One players came streaming out of the dugout to begin their celebration.
Ludman was the winning pitcher, throwing all eight innings and holding the opponent to four hits, all singles, while striking out three and walking none. He also hit one batter. Just one runner reached second for Post 40. Nevada’s Josh Sharman, who threw the first seven innings before reaching the maximum pitch count, also allowed four hits, walked two, hit a batter and struck out eight.
The defensive play of the night came courtesy of St. Elizabeth graduate Nate Thomas, the shortstop, and it happened on national television. Nevada’s Zach Czemiawski led off the eighth with a base hit and was still at first two outs later when Thomas dove hard to his left to field a ground ball by Jason Sharman, rolled and threw from his back, just beating Sharman at first. The play ended up on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” as the day’s top play.
Colmery and Thomas each had two hits for Delaware, while Cautillo had the other. The other Catholic school graduates on the team include Eric Ludman, Jack Dubecq, J.T. Tomovich and Nick Muzzi of St. Mark’s and Matt Poma of Salesianum. In addition, the manager, Brent Treml, is an assistant coach at Salesianum.