For nine innings Saturday night, the clock was turned back and former Washington Post 218 players were able to relive their glory days.
The second annual Post 218 Alumni Game was a success, even if it didn’t have the numbers of last year’s event.
The game ended 10-5, with Aaron Miller’s team beating the squad of Eric Voelkerding and Phillip Kleekamp. But, it really didn’t matter which team won the game. Everyone seemed to have fun during the contest, although some of the guys might still be a bit sore from playing.
The pitchers did a wonderful job. Some of them really were bringing the heat and making the catchers work for everything.
Zach Pointer was on both sides as he even played some catcher after pitching. Voelkerding, the oldest of the players and the only representative of the 1989 state championship team, caught for several innings.
The list of hurlers was a good representation of the last 20-plus years of Post 218 baseball. Greg Bade, Will Davis, Pointer, Danny Taylor, Mike Irwin, Phillip Landwehr, Gus Kleekamp, Mike Dowd, Wes Hopkins and Brett Elsenrath were the men brave enough to take the mound during the game.
While many of them tried to throw the hardest, Elsenrath might have been the most effective, striking out all three batters he faced in the top of the ninth.
Many of the guys showed they can still hit the ball pretty good, too. Alex Weinhold, a current coach with the Union Post 297 program, had the game’s lone double.
Still other former players and coaches came to meet up with old teammates and enjoy the night of action.
Even though there weren’t as many players present as last year’s inaugural event, all involved still had a great time. It’s unfortunate that every program doesn’t have one of these events. It’s always great to honor the past one more time.
Last week, we officially moved into summer. We’ve been in climatological summer since the start of June and “social summer” since Memorial Day. But even though official summer just started, Legion baseball summer is starting to come to an end.
The Ninth District Junior Legion and Freshman Legion state tournaments are starting at the end of this week.
Washington Post 218 has the top seed for the Junior Legion Tournament and I know Kent Getsee is thrilled about that. By winning the regular season, Post 218 has a berth in the Zone 1 Tournament. That is a step further than the 2015-16 state champions got last summer.
In the Freshman Legion Tournament, Union is trying to win out to grab the top seed for that one. The Ninth District winner gets a berth in the state tournament at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field as well. It would be amazing to have multiple local teams in the field.
With the tournament fields still being figured out as we go to press with this paper, it’s hard to tell if there’s going to be another New Haven this year.
Last year, Post 366 gave everyone a thrill by winning the Ninth District Junior Legion Tournament as the eighth seed. I’ve never seen that happen before in the eight-team district tournament format.
I do remember my first year of covering Legion baseball, 1991, when Union Post 297 advanced to the winners’ bracket final as the eighth seed.
That was an interesting year. Union only got into the tournament on the final day. John Neier, our sports editor at the time, told me that he didn’t believe our two teams, Union and Washington, would go too far as he was on vacation that week.
I practically lived at C&H Ballpark as Washington fought back through the losers’ bracket to meet Union in the Saturday morning game. That’s when Union’s Cinderella run finished as Washington won and didn’t lose again after that until the state tournament.
There were a lot of good ballplayers on both of those teams and many are still active in area high school sports.
Let’s hope the current crop of youngsters can recreate the same type of memories.
It wouldn’t be proper to have this column without something about Marty Tiefenbrunn.
Marty died suddenly June 15 at the age of 58. To many of us in the media, Marty was Sullivan. He announced games on KTUI radio and had written for both of the Sullivan newspapers in recent years and was a major booster of his school’s athletes through many forms of media.
Marty was a longtime voter in our Missourian All-Area teams and polls and always put in a good word for Sullivan in whatever sport we were working on at the time.
From the time I met Marty when his son played for Washington Post 218 in during a rare downturn in fortunes, he always had a good discussion and his points were well-thought. Marty, you will be missed by many.