With Ninth District games starting Wednesday, Washington Post 218 Senior Legion Manager Mike Gardner didn’t have an extended preseason to see what his team has to offer.
“In all it was a good start to the year getting the win and getting most of the roster into the game,” Gardner said.
Washington played its only nonleague game prior to the start of district games Monday at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field, edging House Springs Post 783 of the 13th District, 4-3.
Brendan Feldmann earned the victory for Washington while throwing in relief. Matt Jones picked up his first Senior Legion save for Post 218 by throwing a scoreless seventh inning.
Gardner used three pitchers to get through the first six innings, but Washington didn’t take the lead until Feldmann’s stint.
House Springs scored first, putting two runs on the board in the top of the third inning. Washington scored three times in the bottom of the fourth. Post 783 tied the game in the top of the fifth, but Washington took the lead for good in the bottom of the frame.
Brendan Kleekamp, Washington’s most effective pitcher at the end of 2011, got the start for Washington. He pitched two hitless innings while striking out one.
Zach Pointer, promoted this year from the Junior Legion team, pitched the next two innings. He allowed two runs on five hits while striking out two.
Feldmann pitched the next two innings, allowing one run on four hits. He struck out three.
Jones pitched the seventh, allowing one hit, but getting the save.
“Brendan Kleekamp started on the mound and pitched a very sold two innings,” Gardner said. “Zach Pointer followed with two innings of work and was effective when he worked down in the strike zone. Brendan Feldmann gave us two good innings. Matt Jones pitched an uneventful seventh inning to get the save.”
Ricky Knight pitched all six innings for House Springs, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks. He fanned four Washington batters.
Offensively, House Springs outhit Post 218, 10-5.
“We also need to have better at bats,” Gardner said. “It seemed that we were aggressive on the wrong pitches. We will be working on correcting this so we have more quality at-bats.”
Post 783 left eight runners on base to five for Washington. Neither team was sharp defensively. Washington made five errors in the game while House Springs committed three errors.
“Our defense could have been better and it will need to get better in order for us to complete at the top level of our district,” said Gardner.
Trent Leimkuehler led Post 218 with two hits, including Washington’s only extra-base hit, a double. Sam Deschenes, serving as a courtesy runner, scored twice in Leimkuehler’s spot. Deschenes also was hit by a pitch.
Jones had one hit, scored a run and drove in two. He had a sacrifice fly as well.
Noah Borgerding singled, scored a run and drove in one.
Jack Kopmann had Washington’s other hit and stole two bases.
Grant Eckelkamp also stole a base. Austin Rettke walked.
“Trent Leimkuehler, Matt Jones, and Noah Borgerding all
were solid at the plate, but we will need more out of the rest of the lineup in order to be successful this year,” Gardner said.
For House Springs, Jake Brooks led the way with three hits and two RBIs.
Clint Grobeling, Riley Blyzes and Garrett Anderson each had two hits. Brenden Murphy ended with one hit.
Murphy and Austin Gotway of St. Clair started for House Springs. Gotway led off and played shortstop while Murphy batted second and played second base.
Murphy had one run and an RBI to go with his hit. Gotway was hit by a pitch while Blyzes, Anderson and Brooks each doubled. Blyzes also stole a base.
House Springs took the lead in the third. Blyzes singled, advanced on an error, stole third and scored on a hit by Murphy.
Murphy advanced on a hit by Grobeling and scored on another hit by Brooks.
In Washington’s fourth inning, Leimkuehler started things with a double. Deschenes ran and took third on a wild pitch and scored on a hit by Jones. Jones came around and ended up scoring on an error. Borgerding reached on that error and scored on another error. All three House Springs errors came in that inning.
In the fifth, Grobeling singled, moved to second on an error and scored on a double by Brooks to tie it.
In the bottom of the fifth, Deschenes was hit by a pitch, moved to third on miscues between the pitcher and catcher, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jones.
Post 218 jumps right into Ninth District action this week. Elsberry visits Post 218 Wednesday at 7 p.m. Washington then hosts St. Peters Friday at 8:30 p.m. and West Sunday at 6 p.m.
The district schedule is a little different this year. With fewer teams, district teams will play each other twice, which is a bit different than last year, meaning there will be 16 league games this season.