In a game that had a total of five hits by the two teams combined, Washington survived in the opening round of the Class 5 District 8 Baseball Tournament.
Trailing by a 1-0 score for most of the day, the fourth-seeded Blue Jays scored single runs in the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings for a 2-1 victory over fifth-seeded Hannibal Saturday at Holt High School.
“We’re still playing, that’s the most important part,” said Washington Head Coach Scott Bray. “We struggled a little at the plate, but we did a good job moving runners over and in when we did get guys on base.”
The Blue Jays (15-10) scored both of their runs without getting a hit in the final two frames.
With the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning, the game ended in an unusual way.
Alex Monehan drew a leadoff walk, moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Andrew Sumner, and to third base on a groundout by Derek Walters.
With two outs, Pete Coulter hit a ground ball to second base, which was fielded cleanly. The throw to first was a good one, but the Hannibal first baseman dropped the ball, allowing Coulter to reach and Summers to score.
“You feel sorry for the kid and you hate to see someone lose that way, but we’ve been on the losing end of some tough games, too, this season,” Bray said. “I give a lot of credit to Coulter for hustling all the way. A lot of the crowd had their heads down and didn’t see the play, figuring we were going to the eighth inning.”
Hannibal took a 1-0 lead with an unearned run in the top of the first inning.
Washington tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Brock Hopkins was hit by a pitch and moved to second base on a wild pitch. Kyle Summers then took over running at second base, moved to third on another wild pitch and scored on an RBI groundout by Sam Katzung.
Jared Walde pitched all seven innings for Washington to earn the win. He allowed one unearned run on three hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
Brandon Scott, a hard-throwing right-hander, pitched the entire game for the Pirates. He allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits with four walks and five strikeouts.
“Both pitchers located really well,” Bray said. “Jared struggled a little early, but he got into a groove and did a great job.”
A triple by Walters and a single by Katzung were the only two hits for Washington.
Still, the Blue Jays had chances.
On Katzung’s single, Hopkins was thrown out at the plate from second base in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Walters’ triple in the bottom of the fifth gave Washington a chance with two outs, but it couldn’t take advantage.
Hopkins drew a walk and was hit by a pitch. Dilan Bollmann and Monehan also walked.
Third-seeded Timberland defeated sixth-seeded Troy in the other first-round game, 10-0.
Francis Howell Preview
Washington meets top-seeded Francis Howell in the first semifinal game Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
Timberland takes on second-seeded Holt in the other semifinal contest Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.
The championship game is Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
Francis Howell (27-5) won the GAC South title with a 9-1 record.
“Like I told our team, we’ll have to play Francis Howell eventually. If we eliminate them now, we won’t have to worry about them,” Bray said. “I doubt we’ll see their No. 1 pitcher, but their No. 2 and No. 3 pitchers would be the top guys on most other teams. In baseball, anything can happen. One through nine, we have to put the ball in play and move runners around the bases.”
The Vikings have four starters with a batting average over .400, led by Eli Dilday’s .443 mark.
In the pitching department, Calvin Munson is 6-0 with 0.61 earned-run average.
Austin Southmayd is 6-3 with a 2.16 ERA. Dylan Salsman is 6-0 with a 2.67 ERA.
Justin Schuler, who is 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA, will start Washington.
“We’ll start Justin with Luke Hasenjaeger warming up right next to him,” Bray said. “Justin has come a long way since last year. His velocity is better and he has good command of his curveball.”