By Jason Peake
Missourian Sports Writer
All three words are ways to describe Washington’s epic come-from-behind victory on Thursday night.
In a game that appeared to be all but over, Post 218’s Freshmen pulled off a miraculous comeback for the ages.
Washington rallied from an eight-run deficit and shocked Jackson, winning 12-10 in a second round game of the Missouri Freshmen Legion State Tournament at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field.
Jackson Post 158 had a 9-1 lead after five innings, but Post 218 rallied for six runs in the sixth and five more in the seventh to take the lead, doing most of the damage with two outs in both innings. Post 158 failed to score in the bottom of the seventh and the hosts were celebrating a victory they’ll likely never forget.
“That’s got to be one of the best comebacks I’ve ever seen,” Washington Manager Scott Forrester said. “That was a phenomenal win for our team. It’s not easy when you’re down 9-1 against a quality team with a pitcher who can throw 80 mph. We did what we needed to do. We got some base runners on and we got the hits when we needed to.”
Forrester added the comeback win shows that his team has some heart and resiliency.
“Even though they’re a young team this shows that they believe in themselves and they know they’re a good team that can win games,” Forrester said.
Washington (28-10) advanced to take on Ste. Genevieve Post 150 on Friday afternoon in the winners’ bracket final. Ste. Genevieve knocked off Creve Coeur, 4-2, on Thursday. The winner of Friday’s Washington-Ste. Genevieve game will advance to the tourney’s title game on Saturday at 1 p.m. The loser of that game will play on Saturday at 10 a.m.
Washington, which got past Eureka in the first round on Wednesday, got four RBIs from Eli Marquart and three from Drew Piontek. Jacob Unnerstall drove in two runs on three hits, while Zach Finley had one RBI. Nathan Breckenkamp, Finley, Teddy Meyer, Drew Piontek and Tommy Ruether all scored two runs apiece.
Marquart started on the mound and went 4.2 innings. He gave up nine runs, walked four and struck out three. Zach Stahlman came in and earned the win in relief, allowing no earned runs in 2.1 innings. Stahlman struck out three and allowed just two hits.
Jackson, a first round winner over Glendale, got three RBIs from Colten Weber and two from Tyler Knight. Landen Pehle, Drew Brown and Knight had three hits apiece. Dalton Hovis went six innings and allowed seven earned runs. He struck out six and walked six. Weber allowed four earned runs in one inning and took the loss.
Jackson’s starting pitcher Hovis was nearly unhittable over the first two innings, as he struck out five of the first six batters he faced utilizing a nice fastball.
Post 158 scored three runs in the first inning and one in the second. Washington got on the board in the third, as Finley singled with two outs and then Ruether walked. Drew Piontek then singled and Finley scored, cutting Jackson’s lead to 4-1.
But Post 158 erupted for five runs in the fifth inning for a comfortable 9-1 lead.
Washington didn’t give up. They rallied instead.
Post 218 got going in the top of the sixth, putting together a two-out rally. Meyer singled, Breckenkamp walked and then Quinton Poepsel singled, loading the bases. Finley drew a walk and a run scored. Breckenkamp then scored on a passed ball, making it 9-3. After Ruether walked, Drew Piontek drove in a run with a single. Marquart then came up big, lining a three-run double to left to make it 9-7 before Jackson got out of the inning.
Post 158 pushed a run across in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI double from Chase Mueller to make it 10-7.
Washington then took its first lead in the top of the seventh against relief pitcher Weber. Meyer and Breckenkamp both walked and then Poepsel and Finley were retired and Jackson was one out away from the win. But Ruether drew another walk to load the bases. Next, Drew Piontek and Marquart both drew walks and two runs scored. After a pitching change, Unnerstall greeted Jackson’s Brown by lining an RBI single up the middle. Jackson’s center fielder misplayed the ball, allowing two more runs to cross the plate on the error. Just like that, Washington led 12-10.
In the bottom of the seventh, Stahlman sent down Jackson in order, finishing off the game with a strikeout to secure the thrilling victory.
The victory likely left all those in attendance wondering, “Did that really just happen?”
Forrester noted numerous players contributed to the win, but added that Stahlman would get the game ball.
“Jacob Unnerstall probably had the biggest hit of the game for us, but we gave the ball to Zach Stahlman,” Forrester said. “He came in to pitch and pretty much shut them down the last two innings. That sealed the deal for us and it was an awesome win.”
Unnerstall said he and his teammates never thought the game was over.
“This shows that we’re not just going to roll over,” Unnerstall said. “We’ve come back before.”
Unnerstall added there’s still work to do.
“This one was exciting,” he said. “But now we have to keep it going the rest of the tournament.”