Aaron Meyer tossed nine shutout innings Thursday as the Washington Post 218 Seniors opened Ninth District Tournament play with a 4-0 victory over Wentzville at the St. Peters Rec-Plex.
“Tonight, we had great pitching and played great defense,” Post 218 Coach Ben Cassat said. “Aaron Meyer pitched to contact and let his defense work behind him.”
Washington (26-10) plays Daniel Boone Post 262 (16-5) Friday at 8:30 p.m. in the winners’ bracket semifinals at Westhoff Park in O’Fallon.
The two teams split their regular season games, each winning at home. Daniel Boone’s win was shortened by weather. Post 262 nearly won the regular season title, but fell Tuesday to Elsberry to be seeded second.
The winner of that game gets either top-seeded West or St. Charles Post 312 in the winners’ bracket final Saturday at 1 p.m. That game also is at Westhoff Park.
Friday’s loser plays the winner of Friday’s game between Elsberry Post 226 and Pacific Post Saturday at 1 p.m. at the St. Peters Rec-Plex.
In Thursday’s win, Meyer was efficient on the hill, needing 108 pitches to go the complete game. Of those, 65 were strikes and 43 went over for balls. He put the ball over for a strike against 19 batters. He coaxed 15 groundouts and seven flyouts or popouts.
With both hurlers working fast, the game ended in one hour and 41 minutes.
Wentzville managed four hits, one walk and one hit batter against Meyer. The Washington hurler struck out two.
“Whenever you pitch to contact like that, it means the at-bats are pretty short,” Cassat said. “He realizes he doesn’t need to strike everyone out so we can have these quick games where he can go the distance. He’s a strong kid who has built up his stamina during the high school season and into the summer.”
Meyer had plenty of help from his defense, which turned three double plays in the game. Two came on groundouts and one came on a line drive.
The final double play ended the game with a grounder to Seth Bollmann going to Ryan Becszlko in the pivot at second and then over to Noah Borgerding.
That erased Wentzville’s biggest threat in the game as Post 323 had two runners on base at the time.
“I think Seth had six or eight assists and started two double plays,” Cassat said. “We rolled three double plays. All-around, it was a good defensive effort with good pitching and offensively, we did enough to win.”
Washington only had eight hits in the game, but managed to put together two innings worth of scoring.
Post 218 broke through for three runs in the third inning and added another marker in the seventh.
Pacing Post 218 offensively was Ryan Becszlko, who had three of the eight Washington hits. He doubled, added two singles, scored and drove in a run.
“He’s swinging the bat really well,” Cassat said. “He’s got a good approach going up to the plate. That first at-bat was the pitch he was looking for. Everyone feeds off of him. He’s a team favorite. The second half of the year he has been incredible. I can’t be more happy for him because everyone likes him so much. It’s nice to see him coming around and swinging the bat really well.”
Austin Finder had a single and drove in a run.
Noah Borgerding singled and scored.
Nathaniel Hillermann singled, scored and was hit by a pitch.
Spencer Juergens singled, walked and scored a run.
Ross Seitter singled and drove in one run.
Sam Katzung was hit by a pitch.
Post 218 only had one walk in the game against the pitching pair of Devin Pettit and Travis Krutil.
Pettit went 7.2 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits, one walk and two hit batters. He fanned four.
Krutil got the final out, a strikeout, in the bottom of the eighth.
Offensively, Troy Lecroy led Wentzville in hitting with two singles.
Pettit and Duncan Whittington each had one single while Zach Petty was hit by a pitch.
Notes — Mike Gardner was away on business, so Cassat and the other coaches handled the strategy. It was Cassat’s birthday and the team presented him with a win over Wentzville.
When the teams played each other June 3 in Wentzville under similar circumstances, Post 323 won the game. Cassat was thrilled Washington, which won the home game later in the season, was able to notch the victory.
“We wanted to make sure there wasn’t a repeat of the first meeting,” Cassat said. “We spotted them runs early and kicked the ball around. We didn’t want to get into a hole again.”
Meyer was given the team’s Reggie Award for his performance, edging out Becszlko for the prize. The traveling trophy, which features a stuffed squirrel, was first given out at the Blue Springs Wood Bat Tournament and it’s become a badge of honor and something which has built camaraderie within the team since its first presentation.
In other tournament action, top seed West knocked off Pacific Post 320, 11-1.
No further information from that game was available as of press time.