When the season began, the state of Missouri had 35 Freshman Legion baseball teams competing.
At the end of the season, Washington Post 218 is the only one left standing.
The Post 218 squad won the 2014 Missouri Freshmen Legion State Tournament on Sunday with a 3-0 nail-biter of a victory over Ste. Genevieve at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field.
Washington’s youngsters put it all together at the end of the season and proved they were the best of the eight-team tournament field that was played here last week.
The Post 218 team played great defense, had stellar pitching and also got some clutch hitting from different players game after game. Everyone contributed nicely.
But early in the season, a state championship didn’t look very likely for Post 218.
After a June 1 loss to St. Charles, Post 218 was 5-6 overall.
At that point, just having a winning record for the season wasn’t a given.
But something clicked within the team.
Washington Manager Scott Forrester said it was simply confidence.
“We believed in these kids all year long,” Forrester said of his coaching staff. “It just took a little longer to get the boys to believe in themselves. But once they did, they never looked back. We had one heck of a run. We went on a 19-2 run. The kids realized they could play.”
Washington’s freshmen got on a roll in June, winning 16 of 18 games, with one of those losses to Ste. Genevieve, 1-0.
The month of July began with five-straight wins. During that five-game stretch, Post 218 outscored its opponents 46-2.
While Washington did drop two-straight games to St. Charles to end the regular season, the team put it all together at the state tournament.
Washington went 5-1 en route to the championship to finish 31-11 for the season..
Forrester said he was not surprised by his team’s showing at state.
“You have to believe,” he said. “Like I said, once they started to believe, they never looked back.”
And when thinking of his team’s stellar season, Forrester had one final thought.
“And we’re going to get all of these players back next year,” he said.
218 Coaching Staff
Forrester had plenty of help with the Post 218 Freshmen this summer.
Jordan Bierbaum, Joe Kopmann, Jack Kopmann and Phil Mallinckrodt all assisted Forrester with the coaching duties this summer.
Tom Schroeder, a member of the Missouri Legion Baseball Commission, was a fixture at the state tournament last week at Ronsick Field.
Before the title game on Sunday, Schroeder complimented both Washington and Ste. Genevieve’s teams, their coaches, and their parents and fans for carrying themselves well all week in Washington, showing good sportsmanship all tourney long.
Gary Stone, Missouri American Legion department chairman, also attended the tournament and took part in postgame award festivities.