A pair of first-running runs was all Spencer Juergens and the Washington Post 218 Freshmen needed against Jackson Post 158.
Playing in the championship game of the Washington Post 218 Freshman Legion Preseason Tournament Tuesday night at Ronsick Field, Post 218 captured the crown for the second straight season with a 6-0 victory.
“This is the first team that’s really shut us down offensively,” said Post 218 Manager Kevin Juergens. “We knew they were going to be tough. When you have to drive a couple of hours to play, there’s a reason they come up here. They have a nice team. To be able to play a team like that and get a win is good.”
Washington (4-0) scored two runs in the top of the first inning and added four insurance runs in the top of the seventh.
That was more than enough for Spencer Juergens, who tossed a three-hit shutout. In seven innings, he registered nine strikeouts while walking two and hitting one.
Jackson (3-1) never got anything going offensively on a consistent basis.
“Spencer got out in front of the batters, tied them up and forced grounders. He put pressure on them all night, so that’s a credit to him,” Kevin Juergens said. “Spencer felt really good. His pitch count was low. He started to get his pitches up a little in the sixth inning. He said he felt fine, made the adjustments and came back strong in the seventh. They helped us by being anxious at the plate. We took advantage of it when we could.”
Washington’s pitching has been solid in its first four games of the season.
“Our pitching has been good and we still have more that we haven’t seen yet,” Juergens said. “Nate Hillermann is ready to go off last year’s team. He’s another fireballer.”
The two teams combined for nine hits, six of them by Post 218.
Juergens helped himself at the plate by reaching base three times with a single, a double and a walk.
Seth Bollmann, hitting in the leadoff spot, added a pair of singles.
John Himmelberg reached base three times and collected two RBIs. He had a two-run single and drew a pair of walks.
Ryan Becszlko had one hit and a sacrifice bunt.
Justin Baylard drew a pair of walks and had one RBI.
Austin Finder and Nate Hillermann both were hit by a pitch and reached on an error.
Micah McNeal had one RBI.
“Over the last couple of weeks that we’ve been together, we’re working on putting the ball in play,” Juergens said. “Up top, we have a lot of speed. In the middle, we have the bigger boys who can hit the ball pretty far. At the end, we come back with a little more speed. We have it all right there. It’s just a matter of putting it all together.”
In the top of the first inning, Bollmann singled and later scored when Hillermann hit a line drive to center field that was misplayed, allowing him to reach third base.
Hillermann then scored on a wild pitch to make the score 2-0.
“When we had to have a big play, we had the line drive right at somebody and got a break,” Juergens said. “We were disappointed in the first inning because he hit the ball, but got only two runs and left the bases loaded.”
There was no further scoring until the top of the seventh inning, where Post 218 crossed the plate four times.
Washington loaded the bases without a hit when Finder reached on an error, Hillermann was hit by a pitch and Juergens drew a walk.
Baylard followed with another walk to make the score 3-0.
Himmelberg then stroked a two-run single to increase the lead to 5-0.
The scoring ended when McNeal reached on an RBI fielder’s choice.
“It was nice to finally put it away in the seventh inning,” Juergens said.
Washington’s pitching staff should be helped this season by the team’s defensive abilities.
“We’re deep, so we can move a lot of kids around defensively. It’s a good headache to have trying to fit kids in,” Juergens said. “We have a lot of good gloves. No one tries to do anything fancy. We just want them to make the plays they can make.”
Expectations are high for another successful Post 218 Freshman season.
“I think we’re going to be right there like last year’s team,” Juergens said. “I expect good things to happen.”
Ballwin Post 611 defeated House Springs Post 783 in the third-place contest, 10-7.
Saturday’s Post 218 doubleheader against Florissant at McCluer North has been postponed. A rescheduled date has yet to be determined.
Washington is scheduled to host a doubleheader against Festus Tuesday at Ronsick Field starting at 6 p.m.