It was fitting that it came down to a head-to-head game between Washington and West for the Ninth District Senior Legion regular season championship.
Washington secured the outright title Saturday with a 2-0 win over West at Westhoff Park in O’Fallon.
“It was the kind of win you like to get this time of year against a really good opponent,” Washington Manager Mike Gardner said.
Washington (22-6, 15-1) entered the road game with a one-game lead over West in the regular season standings and the two clubs had split their previous games this year.
Post 218 won the league game in Washington, but West claimed a 15-inning tournament game at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field.
And that’s just this year’s games. Washington and West have been the Ninth District juggernauts in recent seasons and always seem to pair up in key contests.
This season’s third contest between the two teams lived up to all the hype the rivalry has produced in recent years.
“The pitching on both teams was outstanding,” said Gardner. “West threw their best pitcher at us and we were able to get to him early and score a couple of runs. Tony Helfrich was on the mound for us and he pitched a great game. He really was in control the entire game.”
Helfrich was the player of the game for Washington. He scattered six hits while walking nobody in a complete game shutout. He struck out seven batters and hit one.
Helfrich threw 93 pitches in the game with 67 of those being counted as strikes. He coaxed 13 groundouts and six flyouts.
“Even in the ninth when West had runners on first and second with one out I was totally confident that Tony was going to get the next two batters,” Gardner said.
West received strong pitching of its own in the game. Andrew Schwab went eight innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks. He struck out six.
Mike Wilkinson struck out two batters in the ninth inning.
West outhit Washington in the game, 6-4, and made the only error in the game.
“We again played really good defense,” Gardner said. We turned a couple of double plays, made some excellent plays on a couple ground balls and our outfielders really did a good job keeping the ball in front of them and not allowing runners to take and extra base.”
But Washington made the most out of its four hits, scoring twice in the top of the second.
Mike McGilvray and Sam Deschenes crossed home plate for Washington. Jack Kopmann and Noah Borgerding contributed RBIs.
In the game, Trent Leimkuehler, McGilvray, Dustin Howard and Kopmann had the hits. Additionally McGilvray and Deschenes drew walks.
Grant Eckelkamp and Matt Jones were hit by pitches.
Washington made two double plays in the game, which helped to secure the shutout.
For West, Jarod Hahn and Jake Hebert led the way with two hits. Danny Biggs and Colton Howell each had one hit.
Nick Mundy contributed a sacrifice bunt. Nick Cessna was hit by a pitch.