By Bill Battle
Missourian Sports Editor
If rain or cold couldn’t stop the Washington Post 218 Junior Legion team Thursday night, what chance did O’Fallon have?
Post 218 (4-2, 1-0) cruised to an 11-0 road win Thursday night in its Ninth District opener at Westhoff Park.
“After plating two runners in the top of the first, we pushed seven runs across in the second inning, which seemed to put the game out of reach early,” Post 218 Manager Phillip Kleekamp said. “We took a lot of quality at bats and were able to work the count in the early innings.”
Washington scored two runs in the first inning, seven in the second and the final two tallies in the top of the fifth inning.
Meanwhile, O’Fallon was held to one hit. And the host team committed four errors to none for Washington.
Washington stole nine bases in the game.
“Everyone in the lineup contributed tonight,” Kleekamp said. “Every starter in the lineup reached base at least once. Hopefully, we can keep our bats hot as we head into a tough weekend of baseball.”
The game signals the start of league play for Post 218. Next up is a Friday 6 p.m. game against the team which has proven to be Washington’s nemesis so far this season, Daniel Boone Post 262. The Augusta-based team has beaten Washington twice with both wins coming in the Post 218 Memorial Weekend Tournament. The teams played last Saturday and Monday at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field. And that’s where Friday’s game also will be played.
Post 218 hits the road Saturday for a league doubleheader at Hannibal. The first game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
On Sunday, Post 218 hosts West in a Ninth District doubleheader. The first game is set to start at 1 p.m.
Washington sticks with league games for the first part of next week. Warrenton visits Tuesday at 6 p.m. and St. Charles comes to Washington Wednesday at 6 p.m.
The next Post 218 nonleague game will be at Parkway South next Friday, June 8, against Manchester. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
In Thursday’s win at O’Fallon, two Washington pitchers combined for the shutout.
Justin Schuler pitched the first four innings, allowing one hit and three walks. He struck out 10 O’Fallon batters.
Luke Knight pitched the fifth inning, striking out two of the three batters he faced.
“Our pitching set the tone early for us,” Kleekamp said. “Justin Schuler got the start for us tonight, and he came through in a big way. Justin went four innings striking out 10 batters and only allowing one hit while walking three. Justin really looked sharp. He was able to locate all of his pitches and get ahead of almost every batter he faced. The first eight O’Fallon hitters retired came by way of the strikeout. Luke Knight came into the game into the fifth inning and set down the only three men he faced striking out two. Our pitching depth should be one of our strengths throughout the season, and that certainly was the case tonight.”
Offensively, Post 218 had a number of hitting stars.
Todd Kleekamp and David McNeal each had three hits in the game.
Kleekamp hit three singles while also posting two runs, two RBIs and a stolen base.
McNeal went 3-3 with a run and an RBI. He doubled.
“Offensively, we were paced by Todd Kleekamp and David McNeal,” Phillip Kleekamp said.
Sam Katzung smacked out two hits while also hitting a double, walking, scoring two runs and driving in three. His double drove home the two runs in the first inning.
Kevin Birk ended with one hit, a run and a stolen base.
Garrett Schoenfeld had a hit and an RBI.
Aaron Meyer tripled, scored, walked and stole two bases.
Peter Coulter scored a run and stole two bases.
Tyler Straatmann walked, scored a run and stole two bases.
Ross Seitter walked, scored twice, drove in one run and stole a base.