After being rained out Friday in the Potosi Tournament championship game, the Union baseball Wildcats looked for success in the Russellville Tournament Saturday.
The Wildcats (6-9) went 2-1 in the tournament, beating Linn and Pilot Grove. Union’s loss came in the middle game against the host team.
“This was a good tournament for us,” Union Head Coach Ryan Bailey said. “We’d have liked to have come out of it with three wins, and we expected to after winning the first game, but it wasn’t meant to be. The game against Russellville had some rain showers and the calls in the field and behind the plate didn’t go our way and it got to us. But overall, we swung the bats well and got some good pitching performances in the bookend games and we’ve given ourselves a chance this week to get back to a .500 record. The boys are playing pretty well right now and we’re having a good time. You can’t ask for much more than that.”
Union opened the tournament with a 12-1 win over Linn. The game went seven innings as Union didn’t establish a 10-run lead until the top of the seventh.
The Wildcats scored once in the first, twice in the second, four times in the third, once in the fourth, twice in the sixth and twice in the seventh. Linn’s run came in the fourth inning.
“It was a great start to the day,” Bailey said. “We scored in every inning but the fifth and we put the ball in play a lot. Linn is a pretty good team who is averaging double digits in hits per game so to hold them to one run was quite an accomplishment.”
Austin Bentlage, slated to pitch against Winfield at the Potosi Tournament, got the start and allowed one unearned run on five hits and two walks. He struck out five.
“Austin looked a bit rusty after pitching one inning over the last 12 days, but he got stronger as the game went on and never really let them mount a threat,” Bailey said.
Tyler Johnson led Union’s offense with three hits, including a double, two runs, five RBIs and one stolen base.
“Tyler Johnson continues to hit the ball well,” Bailey said. “He came out and got on base and when he had runners on he drove them in. He’s one of the better baseball players we’ve had at Union High School.”
Logan Williams added two hits, a run and two RBIs.
Jordan Weaks had a double, a run and two RBIs.
Derek King, Devon Fennessey, Dillen Myers and Nick Schumaker each added one hit.
Union’s loss came in the middle game of the tournament, 8-2 to the host team.
The Wildcats scored single runs in the first and second innings. Russellville scored once in the bottom of the first, three additional runs in the third and four times in the sixth inning.
Williams took the loss, allowing four runs (three earned) over 2.1 innings on five hits and five walks. He struck out four.
Ashton Dehn pitched the final 3.2 innings. He allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits with five strikeouts.
Bentlage belted a double and drove in a run.
Johnson had one hit and one RBI.
King doubled and scored.
And Dehn had one hit.
“We struggled with throwing strikes, some of that on our own and some due to the strike zone that was being called,” Bailey said. “I don’t feel that the calls in this game went our way at all, but they were bad for both sides. The reason we lost was because when we had to throw balls down the middle of the plate Russellville hit line drives and when they came right at us we popped the ball up. Russellville has a nice team who did a good job of putting the ball in play when helped by our pitchers not being allowed to hit the corners of the plate.”
The Wildcats capped the event with a 13-0 win over Pilot Grove. Like the first game, this contest went all seven innings as Union did not establish the 10-run lead until the final frame.
Union scored twice in the top of the second, once in the third, once in the fourth, twice in the fifth, twice in the sixth and five times in the seventh.
Johnson held Pilot Grove to just one hit and one walk while striking out seven.
“Tyler pitched a great game, giving up a double to lead off the fifth for his only hit,” Bailey said. “When you get that kind of pitching from a guy who doesn’t get to go on the mound much the team really appreciates it. He’s a ballplayer who does whatever it takes for the team to win.”
Johnson, King, Weaks, Bentlage, Fennessey, Williams, Myers and Schumaker each had two hits in the game.
Johnson, King, Aldwin Fleer, and Schumaker each drove in two runs.
Fennessey scored three times while Williams and Fleer each scored twice.
“Pilot Grove’s pitcher was a pretty good right hander who was able to keep us from breaking the game open for the first four innings,” Bailey said. “We spread out our hits and were only up four when he left the game. When relief came in we were able to build on our lead and put the game out of reach.”
Bailey indicated that the Potosi Tournament championship game will be made up at a future date.