Pacific’s appearance in the Ninth District Freshmen Legion Tournament, along with its season, came to an end Thursday night.
Fourth-seeded Pacific (9-12) suffered a 6-3 loss to third-seeded St. Peters in a losers’ bracket contest at Elsberry Legion Field.
Post 320 opened the tournament Tuesday with a 2-1 loss in 10 innings to fifth-seeded Wentzville.
Pacific opened with the extra-inning setback to Wentzville.
“It was a great game. It was one of the most intense games I’ve ever been a part of, either playing or coaching,” said Post 320 Manager Nathan Bruns. “I’m proud of the way our boys competed. Despite making a couple of mistakes, they kept their heads in the game and gave everything they had. Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you want them to.”
Austin Muich got the start on the mound for Post 320. He pitched six innings, allowing one run on five hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.
“Austin was lights out. They could barely touch him. He did a tremendous job,” Bruns said. “He was at 99 pitches after six innings, so we had to get him out of the game.”
Tristan Longsdon pitched the final four innings and suffered the loss. He allowed one run on one hit with six walks and six strikeouts.
“Tristan was lights out also,” Bruns said. “He did have six walks, but he pitched in some high-pressure situations and was impressive. He looked calm, cool and collected.”
Post 320 was forced to use both Muich and Longsdon, two of their top starting pitchers, in the same game.
“My philosophy was to win by any means necessary and to start the tournament on the right foot,” Bruns said. “Wentzville is a good hitting team. I’m ecstatic with the way Austin and Tristan pitched. We just couldn’t get our bats going.”
Pacific took a 1-0 lead with a run in the bottom of the third inning.
Wentzville tied the game in the top of the fifth.
With the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Post 320 had the bases loaded with nobody out, but couldn’t push across the game-winning run.
“We had a ground ball back to the pitcher, who got the force out at home, and then a popup on the infield and a fly ball to the outfield,” Bruns said of the eighth inning. “It was extremely frustrating. We were so close to the win and didn’t get it. You have to capitalize on those opportunities or it will usually come back to bite you. Sure enough, it did. Hopefully our boys will learn from that situation.”
After Wentzville took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 10th inning, Pacific threatened in the bottom.
“We had a runner at second base with two outs,” Bruns said. “Alex Westermann, our leadoff hitter, smoked a shot to left field and they made an over-the-shoulder catch to end the game.”
Reid Dauster led Pacific’s 10-hit attack with three hits in the contest. Tanner Wright finished with two hits.
Sam Fuchs, Tyler Warren, Mike Sinnott, Muich and Longsdon each added one hit. Fuchs scored the lone run.
“It was a pretty heartbreaking loss,” Bruns said. “The guys really wanted that one, and so did I. We were really into the game.”
Pacific fell behind 4-0 after three innings and could not recover in a 6-3 loss Thursday to St. Peters.
Post 320 made the score 4-2 with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
St. Peters scored twice in the top of the seventh to increase its lead to 6-2. Pacific added a run in the bottom of the seventh.
Sam Fuchs pitched all seven innings for Pacific. He allowed six runs on 10 hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
“Sam didn’t have much help behind him from our defense,” Bruns said. “We had four or five errors in the first three innings and they took advantage.”
Cody Rettinghaus, Muich, Sinnott, Westermann and Fuchs each had one hit. Westermann and Sinnott both had one RBI.
The Ninth District Freshman Legion All-Star Game will take place in late July at Ronsick Field in Washington.
Bruns said he plans on coaching on the Legion level again next year.
“I know we’ll have a Senior team that Cory (Cowsert) will be coaching,” Bruns said. “The plan is to have a Senior team and either a Freshmen or a Junior team that I’ll be coaching.”