After winning the Ninth District regular season title, the Washington Post 218 Freshmen are taking the scenic route through the district tournament.
Post 218 (18-7) was upset in its first game at the event in Elsberry Wednesday, 8-6, but came back to knock out St. Charles Thursday in the losers’ bracket, 1-0.
Washington returns to action taking on St. Peters Friday at 6 p.m. in Elsberry.
“If we win we keep playing,” said Post 218 Manager Jordan Bierbaum.
The winner plays again Saturday at noon and that game’s winner plays for the title at 3 p.m. Should a final game be needed, it’s set for Sunday at noon.
Post 218 already has been guaranteed a spot in next weekend’s Missouri State Tournament in Branson by virtue of winning the Ninth District regular season title.
District 15 (in the Joplin area) is not sending a team to the state tournament, so the Ninth District has been given a second state spot to keep the event at eight teams.
Facing early elimination from the tournament in Elsberry Thursday, Post 218 got a one-hit shutout from Gus Kleekamp to beat St. Charles, 1-0.
Kleekamp allowed one hit and three walks over seven innings while striking out 11 Post 312 batters.
“This was a classic pitchers duel,” Bierbaum said. “We won 1-0 on a one-hit shutout by Gus Kleekamp. He really threw the ball well. He moved location in and out, up and down better than he has all year. If he can do that, he can be a tough pitcher to hit in this district.”
St. Charles pitcher Riley (no first name given) dueled with Kleekamp, going six innings while allowing one run on two hits and one walk. He struck out eight.
“Offensively we struggled, but we faced a good pitcher who could command not only his fastball but curveball for a strike,” Bierbaum said. “He had us guessing instead of reacting and that’s tough for any hitter.”
Washington’s lone run came in the bottom of the third inning. Jeremy Monehan led off with a single and stole second and third. He scored on a sacrifice by Tyler Miller.
Washington’s other hit came from Zach Marquart.
Miller also drew a walk.
Hopes of pulling off a double of winning the regular season and district tournament titles took a detour for Post 218 Wednesday in Elsberry.
Wentzville, the fifth seed, defeated Post 218 (17-7), 8-6.
“It was an all-around poor game played by our team,” Bierbaum said.
Wentzville, which upset Pacific in the opening round, scored three times in the top of the first inning. Washington got one run back in the bottom of the frame.
In the second inning, Wentzville scored once and Washington scored twice. Post 218 tied the game in the third.
Wentzville scored four times in the fifth inning to break away.
Washington got two runs back in the bottom of the sixth, but couldn’t get any closer.
“We spotted them three before we even came to the plate,” Bierbaum said. “That’s a tough way to start. To our credit we came back and tied it at four. But a couple of mental mistakes in the field cost us the game late and was too overwhelming to come back from.”
Kody Halmich started on the mound for Washington and went two innings. He allowed four runs on four hits and three walks while striking out two.
“Kody didn’t have his game tonight,” Bierbaum said. “That will happen to any pitcher, you just hope it doesn’t happen during a district tournament game.”
James Dyson was next on the hill and he suffered the loss, giving up four runs (two earned) on three hits and one walk over 2.1 innings. He struck out one.
Kolby Lang finished out the game, going 2.2 innings while allowing three walks. He struck out three.
“Kolby Lang and James Dyson really came in and pitched good enough for us to win the game,” Bierbaum said. “It just didn’t happen.”
Offensively, eight different Post 218 batters recorded hits.
Nik Alferman and Joseph Grant doubled in the game.
Alferman also drove in a run, walked, sacrificed and stole two bases.
Grant also drove in a run.
Kleekamp, Trey Hunter, Garrett Leimkuehler, Will Davis, Marquart and Miller singled.
Kleekamp also drove in a run, stole a base and was hit by a pitch.
Hunter scored, was hit by a pitch and stole a base.
Leimkuehler and Davis each scored a run and stole a base.
Marquart added a sacrifice and a stolen base.
Miller scored a run.