Timely hitting and the pitching of Aaron Meyer lifted the Washington Post 218 Juniors past Pacific Post 320 Thursday at Pacific High School, 3-1.
Post 218 (16-2, 13-1) avenged a loss to Pacific earlier in the season.
“It was two good teams, probably the best two teams in the Ninth District, squaring off. A tight ballgame like that helps everyone in the long run,” said Post 218 Manager Phillip Kleekamp. “It’s a shame someone had to lose. Give them credit. They played hard. We came through in the clutch. There were a couple of things we could have done better to make our lives easier, but overall, our kids really came through.”
Post 320 (14-2, 10-1) suffered its first Ninth District loss of the season.
“It was a back-and-forth game. The momentum never stayed in one place,” said Post 320 Manager Cory Cowsert. “We’re still in really good shape. It’s our first league loss, but we have enough older guys who will help us bounce back.”
Aaron Meyer pitched all seven innings for Washington to earn the win. He allowed one run on three hits with three walks, one hit batter and six strikeouts.
“We got a great pitching performance from Aaron Meyer, which was the difference in the ballgame,” Kleekamp said. “He did a great job. He put the team on his back, but also got a little help from his teammates.
“With the wood bats, we preach to our pitchers to make them put the ball in play. There aren’t many kids in this league who are going to hit the ball out with a wood bat. We preach pitch to contact, and Aaron did that well.”
Drew Fonner got the start on the mound for Pacific in a no-decision. In four innings, he allowed one run on four hits with three walks and one strikeout.
“Drew told me from the get-go that he didn’t know how long he’d be able to pitch,” Cowsert said. “He’s not used to starting. He’s closed some games this year. But he wanted the ball and I’m not afraid to give someone a chance who’s up for the challenge. He threw the ball well.”
Noah Brocato tossed the final three frames and suffered the loss. He allowed two runs on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
“Brocato did a good job. He kept us in the game,” Cowsert said. “He had some bad breaks go against him.”
Seth Bollmann led Washington’s seven-hit attack with two hits.
Ross Seitter, Spencer Juergens and Kyle Summers each added one hit and one walk. Summers also had one RBI and one run.
Nick Thiel and Ryan Becszlko both had one hit and one run. Justin Baylard walked twice and had one RBI.
Ryan Vogelgesang, Alex Rice and Brocato each had one hit for Pacific. Vogelgesang also drew a walk. Brocato added one RBI.
Tyler Straatmann walked twice. Fonner also walked. Ryan Ray was hit by a pitch and scored a run.
“Their pitcher threw three pitches for strikes,” Cowsert said. “When you face kids like that, they’re hard to beat.”
Post 218 took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning on a single and a stolen base by Becszlko followed by a two-out RBI single by Summers.
Post 320 tied the game in the bottom of the fifth. Ray was hit by a pitch, moved to second base on a bunt by Rice and scored on a two-out RBI single by Brocato.
Washington took the lead for good with two runs in the top of the sixth.
Summers walked and stole second base. Thiel then bounced a double off the left-field fence. Not sure if the ball would be caught, Summers got a late start from second and could have easily been thrown out at the plate, but Pacific mishandled the relay, allowing Summers to score.
“It came down to a relay,” Cowsert said. “If we make that out at home plate, that’s a huge momentum change.”
Thiel later scored on a sacrifice fly by Baylard to make the score 3-1.
“Summers and Thiel quietly are doing a great job,” Kleekamp said. “Kyle is one of our leaders in batting average. He found a hole, sometimes that’s all it takes. Thiel put a good swing on the ball and came up with a big double. Baylard also had a big sac fly.”
Washington and Pacific could meet again in the Ninth District Tournament.
“If we see them again, we’ll do what we can to be ready for them. Our kids always look forward to playing them,” Cowsert said.
“It wouldn’t surprise me at all if we saw Pacific again toward the end of the season. We have to get there first,” Kleekamp said. “There’s always room for improvement. We’re playing well. We’ve had a couple of bumps along the way, but I think those have made us better.”
Washington and Pacific both travel to Blanchette Park to play St. Charles on Saturday. Post 218 plays St. Charles at noon followed by Post 320 against St. Charles at 3 p.m.
Pacific hosts O’Fallon Sunday at 1 p.m. Washington plays Central at C&H Park Sunday at 8 p.m.