Trey Fink’s pitching performance and a six-run fourth inning propelled the Union High School baseball team to a 10-3 victory over Montgomery County Tuesday.
The win was the only one in three recent contests. Union (7-11, 4-3) fell Monday at Warrenton, 7-6, and Thursday against O’Fallon Christian, 8-6.
The Wildcats play twice in Columbia Saturday, facing Hickman at 10 a.m. and McCluer North after that.
Union has been seeded fifth for the upcoming district tournament at Pacific and will face Priory next Friday in the opener at 4 p.m.
In the victory Tuesday, Fink limited Montgomery County to three hits in seven innings. He struck out 10 and walked none to earn the win.
“Trey Fink has really stepped up and become the ace of our pitching staff,” Union Coach Ryan Bailey said. “He’s been impressive with his command of his curveball and ability to set that pitch up with his fastball. His curve was filthy tonight, and the batters from Montgomery County just didn’t have an answer to it. Once we gave him the big lead he was able to cruise to the victory.”
Union slapped out 13 hits.
“We did a nice job tonight of hitting with runners on base,” Bailey said. “Blake Pickard and Avery Griffin both hit the ball extremely hard, which was good to see. We still left some guys on base, but overall I thought we made some adjustments and drove runners home much better than we did Monday night in Warrenton.”
Pickard went 2-4 with three RBIs for Union, while Nick Eads had three hits and scored twice. Drew Reed, Griffin and Nick Schumaker all contributed two hits apiece. Nick Kretzler and Schumaker scored twice.
The Wildcats led 3-0 when they erupted for six runs in the fourth inning to take a 9-0 lead. Pickard hit a two-run double in the frame.
Montgomery County got three runs back, two in the fourth and one in the fifth, but Union’s lead was safe.
The Wildcats added an insurance run in the seventh for the final margin of victory over Montgomery County.
Scoring three times in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Warrenton Warriors defeated Union in baseball action Monday, 7-6.
Warrenton trailed 6-4 going into the final inning before rallying for the victory. Corey Eckenfels singled home two runners with one out in the seventh to give the Warriors the victory.
“We’ve been on the good end of a few comeback wins this year so I guess we were due to lose a tough one,” Bailey said. “This one was definitely tough.”
Union took the lead with five runs in the third inning, 5-1. Emmett Parker, Schumaker, Pickard, Reed and Tanner Bunch scored in that frame.
Warrenton cut it to 5-4 with three runs in the bottom of the third.
Union added an insurance run in the top of the fifth to make it 6-4.
Reed had three hits and two RBIs for Union, while Parker added three hits. Avery Griffin, Dustin Griffin and Kretzler drove in one run apiece. The Wildcats had 10 hits in the game.
“We hit the ball tonight which is a positive since it’s been a problem for us most of the year,” Bailey said. “Anytime you get 10 hits in a game you have to be happy. However, we did leave nine guys on base and that came back to haunt us. We’ll have to work on putting the ball in play more when we have guys in scoring position.”
Keaton Groff pitched for Union, going 2.1 innings and allowing two earned runs. He struck out three.
“I thought Keaton came in and was pitching great,” Bailey said. “A couple of seeing-eye singles put runners on and then he kept the ball away from their hitters who were pull-happy all night. Unfortunately, the pitches just got away from the catcher and gave them a chance. We hit the ball, fielded the ball, and threw strikes. In the end, it just came down to they got the better of us on the scoreboard.”
Union’s rally attempt Thursday fell short as the Wildcats lost to O’Fallon Christian, 8-6.
Christian scored once in the first, but the Wildcats came back with two runs in the bottom of the inning.
O’Fallon Christian tied it in the third and took a 3-2 lead in the fourth. The Eagles blew the game open with five runs in the fifth.
Union rallied with two runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh.
Curtis Bergner led Union with two doubles, one run and an RBI.
Pickard, Schumaker, Groff, Reed and Fink also had hits. Schumaker and Reed doubled.
Schumaker and Trenton Kranz each scored twice. Griffin and Pickard drove in two runs apiece.
On the hill, Bergner, Griffin, Groff, Ethan Hughes and Jerod Mattingly took turns pitching for the Wildcats.
Bergner went three innings, allowing two runs on four hits and one walk. He struck out one.
Griffin pitched a scoreless inning with one walk and one strikeout.
Groff allowed an unearned run on two hits.
Hughes went two-thirds of an inning, allowing three runs on two hits and two walks.
Mattlingly pitched 1.1 innings, allowing two runs on two hits and a walk.