Ryan Bailey’s team just keeps on winning.
The Union Post 297 Junior Legion baseball team improved to 13-2 on the season with a 5-2 win over Wentzville Post 323 on Wednesday at Union High School.
With the victory, Union won for the eighth time in nine games.
Union (13-2, 6-1) hosts a doubleheader with Elsberry on Sunday. Game one starts at 3 p.m.
Bailey said his team played well against a solid Wentzville squad. Post 323 entered the night with a 5-2 district record.
“It was a close, competitive game between two good teams,” Bailey said.
Bailey added his team’s defense was stellar.
“A few plays by Mike Wachter and Emmett Parker stood out to me as the difference in the game,” Bailey said. “Emmett played a very good shortstop and made every play that came his way. Two in particular were double play balls that he was able to field, step on second, and throw to first for the twin killing. One ended a Wentzville rally with no score in the top of the third, and the other took care of a leadoff single in the top of the seventh. On our turf Emmett is about as good as they come in attacking the ball and making the play. As our catcher, Mike was able to kill a Wentzville rally in the top of the sixth by throwing out a runner by at least four steps. It was a big momentum swing, as they had just scored and had runners on the corners. Both Emmett and Mike had good days for us and helped lead us to victory.”
Kendall Sheler went 3-3 with two RBIs to lead Union’s offense.
“Kendall Sheler had a good day at the plate,” Bailey said. “We were only up one run when he got a base hit with the Wentzville infield drawn in. He was able to poke a base hit through the middle. He’s 6-6 our last two games and that’s big for his confidence. I was even happier to see him fight a curve ball off with two strikes, using skills that we talk about back during the high school season to get better results now. It’s good to see a guy have success and have a good approach at the plate where they work on things they’ve been taught. Kendall was a big bat for us on Wednesday when we needed one.”
Dillon Breeden and Drew Reed drove in one run apiece, Blake Pickard, Wachter and Breeden had one hit apiece, while Emmett Parker and Nick Eads both scored runs.
Union broke a scoreless tie by scoring one run in the third. The hosts added a run in the fourth, two in the fifth and one more in the sixth. Wentzville’s runs came in the fifth and sixth.
Breeden’s single to right field drove in Wachter in the third.
“Our defensive play really stood out when their shortstop waited on a ground ball by Wachter and he was able to beat it out for a base hit in the bottom of the third,” Bailey said. “He later scored on a base hit by Dillon Breeden. Mike’s hustle is one of the great assets our team has and it directly led to our first run of the game and we never trailed.”
Reed’s fielder’s choice plated a run in the fourth to make it 2-0. After Post 323 got on the board in the top of the fifth, Union extended its lead in the bottom half. That’s when Sheler hit a two-run single, scoring Breeden and Eads. A balk by Wentzville allowed Union to score an insurance run in the sixth.
Reed earned the win with a solid pitching performance, going all seven innings on the mound for Post 297. He struck out seven, walked one, and allowed only one earned run.
“Drew Reed threw a very good game,” Bailey said. “With basketball and football camps this week, along with some vacations here and there, it’s always nice to get a complete game from your pitcher to help save your arms. Drew got ahead in counts the whole game and was able to get a lot of swings and misses throughout. The only time they scored was when Drew tried to do too much and made an error on a pick-off attempt that put a man in scoring position, and later when he balked a runner to third who scored on a ground out. He already is becoming a great high school pitcher, but once the game slows down for Drew he’ll be very tough to beat.”
Union was scheduled to play a doubleheader at Crocker on Thursday. The date was canceled. Bailey said Crocker’s fields were unplayable due to the recent rain.
Union and Cuba squared off on Monday, but the game was not finished due to rain. Only a few innings were completed. Bailey said he wasn’t sure if the game would be made up or not.