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updated: 7/21/2011 8:48 PM

American Legion Post 57 from Elgin reaches final

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They're sitting pretty now.

The baseball team from American Legion Post 57 from Elgin occupies the catbird seat after dispatching host Lena 13-3 in seven innings in Second Division Tournament play Thursday.

The victory was keyed by a complete-game pitching performance from North Central College recruit Sam Klein (6-1) and advances unbeaten Post 57 to the tournament finals in Lena today at 5 p.m.

A win today or Saturday in the double-elimination tournament would advance Elgin Post 57 (25-8-1) to the state tournament July 27-31 in Galesburg.

If Elgin loses today, it would face a Saturday rematch for the division title against either Barrington, Streator or Lena at 5 p.m.

"I think since we've started we've been playing with a lot of confidence," Post 57 coach and general manager Bob Todd said. "We've got pretty good pitching and we're a good hitting team. As long as we don't make any stupid mistakes, we'll be OK."

Lena (23-5) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but Klein erased the deficit in the bottom of the frame by blasting a leadoff home run for the second straight day.

Elgin later scored 3 runs in the fifth inning to snap a 3-3 tie, but Klein's performance on the mound on a 100-degree day was most impressive. The recent Burlington Central graduate pitched all 7 innings, striking out 8 while walking only 2 hitters in an 111-pitch outing.

Elgin closed out what began as a competitive contest by exploding for 7 runs in the seventh inning to invoke the 10-run rule. Cameron Waterworth's 2-run home run made it 8-3, and a grounder off the bat of Nick Holze found its way to the outfield, bringing in 2 unearned runs to conclude the victory for Elgin.

"We made some nice plays in the field," said Todd, who pointed to a double play turned by shortstop Ryan Burke and second baseman Drew Stover and a pair of catches by outfielder Reid Ellis. "They were an enthusiastic team, but then we hit the ball, they made mistakes, we started running and we hit gaps. We just kept adding and adding and adding."

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