Before some teams in the Four Rivers Baseball Classic even took the field, Pacific wrapped up the Pool C title with home wins of 7-1 Tuesday over New Haven and 4-3 Wednesday over Wright City.
The Indians, the defending tournament champions, will play in the championship bracket Saturday at the Pool B winner’s home field (Washington, St. Clair or Festus). They will play the Pool B winner in the semifinals at noon. The third-place and championship games will follow.
“We have a lot of younger, new players in new positions, so I’m very happy to win our first two games and get to the championship bracket,” said Pacific Head Coach Jeff Reed. “I’m especially happy with the way we didn’t get down and came back in the last inning to beat a good Wright City team.”
New Haven, the home team on the scoreboard, took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning, but Pacific responded with seven runs over the final four innings.
Hank Vandaveer pitched the first four innings for Pacific to earn the win. He allowed one earned run on five hits with four walks and eight strikeouts.
Noah Brocato tossed three scoreless innings in relief and was credited with a save. He allowed three hits and two walks while striking out three.
“Hank threw the ball OK. He just fell behind too many hitters. He still had eight strikeouts,” Reed said. “Noah is a freshman who got his feet wet. He did what we needed him to do. It was a good experience for him.”
Both teams collected eight hits in the contest.
Pacing the Indians in the game was Vandaveer, who reached base three times with two hits and a walk to go with three RBIs. Tanner Brown and Brandon Colter also reached base three times with one hit and two walks to go with one RBI.
Zeth Boyer finished with one hit, one walk, three runs and one RBI.
Tyler Straatmann, James Howie and Brocato each had one hit. Straatmann and Howie also walked. Howie added two runs and one RBI. Straatmann had one run and one RBI.
Hunter Finney drew a pair of walks. Jake Null and Lucas Zurliene both scored a run.
Ross Seitter got the start on the mound for New Haven and took the loss. In five innings, he allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits with six walks and three strikeouts.
Andrew Schwentker worked the final two frames. He allowed five runs, four earned, on five hots with two walks and two strikeouts.
Garrett Schoenfeld and Tyler Strobel both had two hits for the Shamrocks.
Austin Madden, Blake Eggers, Seitter and Schwentker each had one hit. Eggers and Seitter also walked twice.
“Through the first four innings, they held us in check. We were out in front of everything,” Reed said. “We made some adjustments and put together some better at-bats in the final three innings.”
Trailing 3-2, Pacific scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat Wright City.
With runners at first and second bases with two outs, Vandaveer lifted a fly ball to right field, which went off the glove of the Wright City player, allowing both runners to score to end the game.
“Their right fielder got a late jump on the ball and it went in and out of his glove,” Reed said. “We gave them a run in the fourth inning with a couple of defensive mistakes.”
Boyer pitched the first four innings in a no-decision. He allowed one earned run on two hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
Brown worked the final three frames for the win. He allowed two earned runs on four hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
“Zeth did a good job allowing only one run in four innings. The best thing about Tanner was he was around the plate. Our outfielders ran down some balls that could have been hits,” Reed said. “They had six guys in their lineup who could swing it. They also have a couple of good arms.”
Vandaveer collected two of Pacific’s five hits. He scored one run and had one RBI.
Straatmann, Howie and Brown each added one hit. Brown added one run and one RBI. Howie scored a run. Eain Roberts also scored.