It looks like the West Jaguars might be the team to beat in the Ninth District this season.
West shut out Washington Post 218 Sunday to claim the Washington Invitational Tournament championship at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field, 4-1.
For Washington (13-7), it turned out to be a game too far on the day. Post 218 defeated Creve Coeur (1-0) in the quarterfinals and Jackson (6-0) in the semifinals earlier on Sunday. Washington had to play an extra game due to heavy rains which washed out the final quarterfinal set for Saturday. Overall, it was five games in three days for Post 218.
“Playing five times in three days is really tough, but I think our kids did a good job of being ready and coming to play,” Washington Manager Mike Gardner said. “It did catch up to us a little at the end.”
While Post 218 finally found a way to score against West, it wasn’t enough in a 4-1 defeat.
“We tried to rally late but it was just not enough,” Gardner said. “Even though we lost the championship game I felt like we had a great tournament. We really played great defense all week and started taking more quality at-bats. Of course our pitching continued to be excellent.”
West broke through with three runs in the top of the third inning and added another run in the fourth inning.
Post 218 scored its run in the bottom of the sixth.
In two meetings, the run scored by Seth Bollmann on Sam Katzung’s groundout was the only one Washington has managed against West pitching. For the most part, Post 218 had trouble putting things together against West hurler Danny Gabler, who allowed that unearned run on five hits.
On the other side, Post 218 got 3.1 innings from starter Evan Ayers, who absorbed the loss. He allowed four runs on four hits and one walk while striking out one and hitting a batter.
“It was pretty obvious it was our third game of the day as we made a few mental mistakes that opened the door for West to score some runs,” Gardner said. “Evan Ayers pitches well enough for us we just didn’t help him out defensively in a couple of key situations.”
Logan Holdmeyer, one of two Post 218 batters who celebrated birthdays, went 3.2 innings, allowing one hit while fanning two batters.
“We did get great relief pitching from Logan Holdmeyer,” Gardner said.
Post 218 got two hits from Austin Finder, who doubled and singled.
Katzung, Noah Borgerding and Spencer Juergens singled.
For West, Justin Fawcett led the way with two hits, including a double. He scored one of the runs.
The other hits came from Kyle Case, Eric Teal and Bobby Ehrlich. Teal tripled.
Also scoring were Biggs, Ryan Franklin and Teal. Jordan White, Case and Erhlich drove in runs.
White had a sacrifice fly and Franklin put down a sacrifice bunt. Fawcett was hit by a pitch. Ehrlich, Franklin and Biggs stole bases.
Each team made two errors in the game.
After both teams stranded a pair in the first inning, West broke through in the third. With one out, Fawcett doubled and Biggs was hit by a pitch. Franklin hit a grounder to shortstop and Post 218 went for the force at second, but didn’t make the play in time.
After White’s sacrifice fly plated Fawcett, West brought Biggs home on a double steal. Case then singled home Franklin.
Teal led off the fourth with a triple and Erhlich singled him home. After another hard-hit ball, which landed in John Himmelberg’s glove in left field, Gardner decided West had figured out Ayers and made the pitching change.
Holdmeyer, a lefty, held West in check for the rest of the game.
However, Washington struggled to do anything against Gabler, who faced the minimum in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings.
With one out in the sixth, Bollmann reached on an error and then went to third on Finder’s double to the wall in right center.
Katzung grounded out to shortstop and West took the sure out at first, scoring Bollmann.
A double play, West’s third of the game, helped to erase any Washington momentum in the bottom of the seventh.