Post 218 Juniors Squeeze Past West

Washington Post 218 Junior Legion Justin Baylard catcher keeps his eyes on the ball Tuesday against West at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field. Baylard and Post 218 came from behind to beat West in the seventh inning, 5-4.

For the second day in a row, the Washington Post 218 Junior Legion team pulled out a dramatic victory.

Following Monday’s extra-innings win at St. Peters, Post 218 rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh Tuesday to beat West, 5-4, in Ninth District action.

“It was nice picking up a win like that,” Post 218 Manager Phillip Kleekamp said. “I think we were a little worn down after a late one last night against St. Peters. Our kids really utilized a lot of effort. We were a little bit slow today but we got a break at the end, got a rally started and our kids did a great job.”

Post 218 also beat New Haven in a league game Wednesday, 13-3.

Washington improved to 20-2 overall and 17-1 in league games with the victories.

Post 218 continues its run to the playoffs with three more league games.

On Saturday, Hannibal comes to Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field for a doubleheader. The first game starts at noon.

Post 218 goes on the road Sunday to play at Elsberry with the first pitch scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

Kleekamp indicated another game, a rainout last Sunday at Central, will not be made up.


Down to its final chance, the Washington Post 218 Junior Legion team came up with enough magic to earn the victory Tuesday night at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field, 5-4.

“I’m really pleased with the boys tonight,” Kleekamp said. “I know we weren’t at 100 percent tonight.”

Post 218 trailed West 4-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. Washington took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the first, but West tied it in the top of the third.

Washington took the lead in the bottom of the fourth, 3-2, but West rallied for two runs in the top of the fifth. And that’s how it stayed until the bottom of the seventh.

Seth Bollmann led off the inning with a single to third base. Ross Seitter then put down a bunt and it was thrown away, moving runners to second and third.

Spencer Juergens hit a fly ball to center field and it was deep enough to bring Bollmann home. Seitter advanced to third on the play as well.

Kleekamp rolled the dice with Ryan Becszlko at the plate, getting a successful squeeze bunt to bring Seitter home and end the game with the victory.

“Spencer Juergens hit a big sacrifice fly,” Kleekamp said. “Ryan Becszlko did a great job on a squeeze play to pick up the win. That was a really clutch play by him at the end.”

Kleekamp said Washington wanted to go with the squeeze play.

“We even talked about going with back-to-back squeezes since we had second and third with no outs, but after Juergens put together a good at-bat and got one in, we knew we had two guys out there who we knew would get it done in Seitter and Becszlko. They did a great job executing to perfection. It’s nice to have that when you need it.”

Scott Byrne picked up the victory, tossing 1.2 innings of hitless relief. He allowed just one walk.

“Scott did a great job coming in and keeping us in the ballgame,” Kleekamp said.

Aaron Meyer started in the game and lasted 5.1 innings. He allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks. He struck out six.

“Aaron was a little disappointed,” Kleekamp said. “I know he would tell you he didn’t have his best stuff tonight. He kept us in the ballgame.”

Offensively, Becszlko led the way with two hits, one run and an RBI.

Jack Hoey doubled and added a walk and an RBI.

Bollmann, Seitter, Nathaniel Hillermann and Justin Baylard each singled.

Bollmann scored while Seitter scored twice and also walked.

Hillermann and Baylard each drove in a run.

Juergens had an RBI via sacrifice fly. Kyle Summers walked and scored a run. Nick Thiel sacrificed.

“We were down to our last drop of gas there,” Kleekamp said. “But we hung in there and did a great job. I’m really proud of the boys today.”

Connor Whalen took the loss for West. He went the distance, 6.1 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits and three walks. He struck out three.

Tyler Castle had two hits while Eric Teal doubled.

New Haven

Post 218 continued its run through the Ninth District Wednesday with a 13-3 win over New Haven in six innings.

“We came out a bit flat tonight spotting New Haven three runs in the first inning,” Kleekamp said. “However, we turned it around and were able to put up some runs to pick up the victory.”

Becszlko got the start on the hill for Post 218.

“Ryan Becszlko got the start for us and did a good job,” Kleekamp said. “After allowing a few runs in the first, he seemed to settle in a throw more consistently allowing our defense to do the majority of the work for him.”

Thiel followed him to the mound in the fifth inning.

“We only planned to pitch Ryan four innings at the maximum, so we went to Nick Thiel in the fifth inning,” Kleekamp said. “He also threw well keeping New Haven off of the board in his two innings of work.”

Kleekamp was pleased with the team’s offense.

“Overall, I thought we took a lot of good at-bats throughout the game,” Kleekamp said. “We were able to manufacture some runs as well as get a few big hits to plate our runs. We got a little bit away from our approach in the middle innings, but I was pleased with the effort.”