Friday’s Blue Springs Wood Bat Tournament pool game against Elsberry for the Washington Post 218 Seniors could carry double the significance.
Not only could that determine the pool winner, but also will serve as Washington’s final Ninth District game of the season.
“We will have to beat Elsberry in order to win our pool,” said Post 218 Manager Mike Gardner.
Post 218 (26-5), the defending tournament champion, stands at 2-0 in Pool D following wins over Rod’s Sports Athletics, 8-1, and the Omaha, Neb., Post 1 Vikings, 3-2.
Prior to playing Elsberry, Post 218 took on the Lee’s Summit Post 189 Pirates (0-3 in the pool) Friday morning while The Missourian was being produced.
The Elsberry game is set for 3 p.m. Elsberry stood at 3-0 in the pool heading into Friday and the game with Washington is its only game of the day.
Also in the pool, the A’s and Post 1 Vikings each had 1-2 records while the Pirates stood at 0-3.
Rod’s Sports A’s
Heading into the tournament, Gardner felt the pool opener Wednesday with Rod’s Sports A’s (30-6) would be key to controlling the pool.
Thanks to a five-run seventh inning, Washington grabbed its opener against one of the host programs, 8-1.
“We jumped out in front and were pretty much in control of the game,” Gardner said.
Washington jumped on top with two runs in the top of the first. The A’s cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fourth with a run, but Post 218 scored once in the top of the fifth to make it 3-1.
Washington added five runs in the top of the seventh.
Post 218 took advantage of six errors in the game. Those helped Post 218 make the most of their four hits and four walks.
On the hill, Tyler Tuepker went the distance and continued his excellent season. Tuepker allowed one run on four hits and two walks while striking out eight Rod’s Sports batters.
He’s now 7-0 on the season with a 0.69 ERA. He hasn’t allowed more than two runs in a game so far this season.
“Tyler Tuepker was his usual self and was really only in trouble in one inning,” Gardner said. “It was a good win against a quality team and just the way we wanted to start the tournament.”
Offensively, Trent Leimkuehler led the way with two hits. He also scored a run and stole two bases.
Washington’s other hits were singles by Dilan Bollmann and Luke Hasenjaeger.
Bollmann also scored and drove in a run. Hasenjaeger scored a run.
Grant Eckelkamp walked, scored and drove in a run.
Matt Jones drove in a pair of runs.
Tony Helfrich walked and scored twice.
Jack Kopmann walked, scored and added a sacrifice.
Justin Schuler drew a walk, scored and drove in a run.
Grant Gavin pitched for the A’s and allowed three unearned runs over six innings. He gave up one hit and two walks while striking out six.
Also in action Wednesday, Elsberry and the Omaha Post 1 Vikings both defeated the Lee’s Summit Post 189 Pirates.
Post 1 Vikings
Washington’s three-run rally in the bottom of the fifth inning proved to be just enough to give Post 218 a 3-2 victory over the Omaha, Neb., Post 1 Vikings at Blue Springs South High School.
The Vikings scored twice in the top of the fifth, but Washington came back with a three-run surge in the bottom of the frame.
In the top of the inning, a two-out triple by Connor Phillips gave Post 1 the advantage.
In the bottom of the inning, Leimkuehler’s one-out triple brought home Eckelkamp and Bollmann to tie the game.
Leimkuehler then scored when Jones reached on an error.
“Their pitcher was sharp and he kept us off the scoreboard until the fifth inning,” Gardner said. “They got a big two out triple in the top of the fifth to go up 2-0. We responded by scoring three in the bottom of the inning. Trent had a big triple to deep center to drive in two and then scored on a ground ball to short.”
Jared Walde was the winning pitcher, going six innings while allowing two runs on three hits and three walks. He fanned five Post 1 batters.
Brendan Feldmann picked up the save, pitching a scoreless seventh inning. He struck out one.
“Brendan Feldmann came in and closed the game with a one-two-three seventh,” Gardner said.
Offensively, Eckelkamp and Bollmann each had two hits while scoring once. Each had one stolen base as well.
Leimkuehler and Hasenjaeger had the other hits. Leimkuehler tripled, scored and drove in two.
Sam Katzung drew two walks. His courtesy runner, Todd Kleekamp, stole two bases.
Jones drove in a run and walked.
Chaz Cox suffered the loss for Post 1, going the distance while allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits and three walks. He struck out one.
Phillips had two of the three Post 1 hits.
In the tournament standings, the Warrensburg Post 131 Isotopes led Pool A with a 3-0 record with Fike Post 499 next at 2-1.
Bellevue, Neb., Post 339 West was 3-0 in Pool B, a game ahead of St. Peters Post 313.
In Pool C, the West Jaguars from the Ninth District were unbeaten at 2-0, a half-game ahead of Jefferson City Post 5 (2-1).
Things are wide open in Pool E, where the Sedalia Post 642 Travelers and Lee’s Summit Hawthorn Bank Outlaws are tied at 2-1. The Central Spartans are 1-1 while De Soto’s SMCI and the Hays, Kan., Eagles are 1-2.