With Nathaniel Hillermann tossing a no-hitter, the Washington Post 218 Junior Legion team (24-2) cruised to a 6-0 win over O’Fallon Wednesday in the winners’ bracket semifinals of the Ninth District Tournament at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field.
“It was a great job,” said Post 218 Manager Phillip Kleekamp. “I thought our kids really came out to play, especially after our lackluster performance the other night. They did a good job. Nate Hillermann, after he got settled, actually ended up throwing a no-hitter. He was great late and he wanted the ball. He had that bulldog mentality.”
The win set up a Thursday rematch with Pacific Post 320. The two teams split their regular season games with each team winning on the road.
Hillermann held O’Fallon to just four walks while one other batter reached on an error. He struck out seven.
While Post 218 committed one error, the defense stepped up at key moments to preserve the no-hitter.
“You hate to have to use a tough game as a learning point, but I think that close one the other night woke us up,” Kleekamp said. “We told our guys that you’ve got to come out and earn it every night. No one’s going to give it to you.”
Hillermann fielded one bunt and made a long throw to get one out. Aaron Meyer snagged a line drive.
Justin Baylard made a long run to pull in a foul ball near the O’Fallon dugout.
And, in the seventh, John Himmelberg fielded a ball hit to right field and threw to Meyer in time to record a 9-3 putout at first base.
“Nate got a little help from John Himmelberg at the end,” Kleekamp said.
Offensively, Washington jumped onto the scoreboard in the second inning with two runs. Both teams had threatened in the first, but were held off the board.
Post 218 added three more runs in the third and scored once in the bottom of the sixth.
“We hit a tough pitcher,” Kleekamp said. “That kid had a real good curveball. He gave some of our guys a lot of trouble. But we bunted, we hit and we stole bases. I thought we put together the whole package.”
Offensively, two plays in the third inning made a difference in the game.
With Meyer and Spencer Juergens on base, Kyle Summers belted a triple to right field with both Meyer and Juergens scoring.
On the next pitch, Baylard put down a squeeze bunt with Summers heading home to score the third run of the inning.
“Usually after a deep cut like that, you’ve got guys sitting back,” Kleekamp said. “We like to play small ball when we can. Justin did a good job executing. He put down a great bunt. That’s definitely part of our arsenal. Getting an extra run always is important. It wasn’t a dagger, but it was close. After that, they got their heads down. It put them into a tough spot.”
Summers had the biggest hit of the game, the two-run triple. He scored and drove in two.
Ross Seitter and Juergens each had two singles in the contest.
Seitter drove in a run and walked twice. Juergens scored once.
Meyer singled and scored.
Jack Hoey singled, scored a run and stole a base.
Baylard did not have a hit, but walked, scored a run, sacrificed and stole two bases.
Seth Bollmann walked, drove in a run and sacrificed.
Himmelberg walked and scored.