Washington Post 218’s dominance of the Ninth District ended with a championship Wednesday night at Ronsick Field.
Playing in the title game of the Ninth District Freshmen Legion Tournament against sixth-seeded West, top-seeded Post 218 cruised to an 8-0 victory.
West, which defeated fifth-seeded St. Charles 16-0 in the loser’s bracket final earlier in the night, had to beat Washington twice to win the title, but could not win the first contest.
“We expected it, but it’s another thing to actually do it and come away with it,” said Post 218 catcher Justin Baylard.
“It feels great. I expected it out of the team. It’s unreal, an amazing feeling,” said Post 218 third baseman Spencer Juergens. “We’re confident. We think we’re going all the way.”
No team in the Ninth District was able to solve Post 218 this season.
“The key for us running the table in the district was our depth. Whenever we would throw our so-called three or four pitcher, the other teams seemed not able to match up with us,” said Post 218 Manager Kevin Juergens. “Every team seems to have one or two pitchers. We would match up with them and then our defense would always keep us in it until we would break through with the bats.”
Post 218 (35-1) went 4-0 in the district tournament to advance to the Missouri State Legion Tournament July 18-22 in Branson.
Washington opens the state event Wednesday at 7 p.m. against the District 15 winner.
“We’re obviously excited about the opportunity to go to Branson,” Kevin Juergens said. “We’re playing with a lot of pride and are proud to represent the Washington community and Post 218.”
Austin Finder tossed a one-hit shutout in the title game over West.
In seven innings, the southpaw allowed no runs on one hit with four walks and 10 strikeouts.
“Austin was outstanding. The thing is, that’s how he has been all year, along with all my other pitchers,” Kevin Juergens said. “With Austin, it seems like the bigger the game, the better he gets. He was throwing so effortlessly and with such confidence, you knew they were not going to get many good swings at him, and they didn’t. He followed up Nate Hillermann, who threw a one-hitter at them on Tuesday, to come back and throw a one-hitter of his own at them.”
Washington outhit West in the game, 13-2.
Finder also led the way at the plate, going 3-4 with two doubles, five RBIs and one run.
“They’re a good team. We just came out playing,” Finder said. “I felt great out there. My arm felt great. My bat felt great. I hit the ball pretty well. I just felt great all the way around.”
John Himmelberg and Spencer Juergens both reached base three times. Himmelberg had two hits, one walk and one run. Juergens had two hits (one double) and reached an an error, ading one RBI and one run.
Ryan Becszlko finished with two hits and a run.
Justin Baylard added one hit, reached on an error and scored a run.
Seth Bollmann, Micah McNeal and Logan Holdmeyer each had one hit. McNeal added one RBI. Bollmann scored a run.
Connor Whalen pitched all six innings for West (21-16). He allowed eight runs on 13 hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
Jonathan Steiner and Eric Teal both had one single.
After Finder made quick work of West in the top of the first inning, Post 218 went to work right away with the bats.
Washington scored three runs on four hits in the first frame, which was more than enough for Finder.
Seth Bollmann singled and scored on an RBI double by Finder. Juergens followed with an RBI double. McNeal then had an RBI single to make the score 3-0.
“We burst their bubble right from the start,” Kevin Juergens said. “They just came off the game before beating up on St. Charles. Austin shut them down in the first inning, we put three on them against their No. 1 pitcher and they knew they were in trouble.”
Post 218 increased its lead to 5-0 with two runs in the bottom of the second inning.
After Becszlko singled and Baylard reached on an error, Finder stroked a two-out, two-run double.
Washington made the score 6-0 in the fourth inning on singles by Himmelberg and Finder.
Post 218 scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Becszlko, Baylard and Himmelberg each had singled and Finder added an RBI.
Micah McNeal of Post 218 threw a West runner out at the plate from left field in the fourth inning to help preserve the shutout.
“We knew their pitcher was pitching on short rest,” Kevin Juergens said. “Our hitters were relaxed and patient at the plate. We got some nice swings in.”