It’s probably not the way Gus Kleekamp envisioned being the hero.
But, facing Wentzville Tuesday night at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field, it’s what Kleekamp didn’t do which allowed Post 218 to earn a 7-6 Ninth District victory.
“in the last inning we decided to make the pitcher throw strikes so we were taking pitches,” Post 218 Manager Jordan Bierbaum said. “As that goes, they walked in the winning run. You would like to see your team hit in the game winner, but in a crucial district game we were glad with the win.”
Kleekamp declined to swing at any of the four pitches sent to him and drew a walk, bringing home teammate Will Davis with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to end the game.
Washington (14-5, 7-0) took the lead with one run in the first inning and added two more in the fourth.
But then came the inning Post 218 would like to forget.
Three walks, two doubles, two errors and a single led to Wentzville scoring six runs in the top of the fifth inning.
“Gus Kleekamp started the game and looked good at times through the first couple of innings,” Bierbaum said. “He lost a little control late and it cost him the win. Walking batters will almost always come back to hurt the pitcher and it did in Gus’ case.”
To their credit, Washington bounced back to tie it in the bottom of the frame with two runs, 6-6.
After that, the teams played a scoreless sixth inning and Wentzville was retired in order in the top of the seventh.
Post 218 made the most out of their five hits and six walks. Additionally, four Washington batters were hit by pitches.
“Offensively, there are two hitters who really made a difference,” Bierbaum said. “Nik Alferman got us on the board and really has been a force all year in the four hole. And Trey Hunter fought off a pitch and drove in the tying run on an opposite-field single. That at- bat is what he has done all year for us. He is a tough out and can really hit to all fields. To his credit, hard work is showing itself at the plate.”
Kleekamp, Blake Pickard, Hunter, Alferman and Daniel Diener recorded hits for Washington.
Diener doubled, scored once, drove in one and walked twice. He added one stolen base.
Kleekamp singled, walked three times, scored twice and drove in one run.
Pickard singled, drove in two, stole a base and sacrificed.
Hunter singled, scored, drove in a run and was hit by a pitch.
Alferman singled, walked and drove in a run.
Davis scored two runs while being hit by a pitch.
Kolby Lang was hit by a pitch and scored.
Garrett Leimkuehler was hit by a pitch.
Kleekamp started on the hill for Post 218 and lasted 4.1 innings. He allowed five unearned runs on two hits and six walks. He struck out six.
Leimkuehler relieved and got the win. Over 2.2 innings, he allowed one unearned run on three hits and one walk. He struck out four.
Josiah Hagemeier had two hits for Wentzville. Andrew Siemer suffered the loss.