Behind strong pitching from Kody Hackmann and Josh Schroer and clutch power hitting off the bat of Logan Decker, host New Haven Post 366 defeated Union 297 Wednesday, 9-3, in first-round action of the Missouri Ninth District AAA Tournament.
“We needed the first few innings to pick up on what their pitcher was throwing,” Decker said.
Union starting pitcher Kendall Sheler blanked New Haven through the first four innings.
Meanwhile, Hackmann was terrific in his starting role, yielding no runs, no hits and one walk, while striking out four in three innings worked. No Union batter managed to hit a ball off Hackmann that went farther than the infield.
“A little bit of everything was working for me,” Hackmann said. “My slider was working very good but I used mainly my fastball. Overall, I felt it was a good outing.”
In a scoreless tie, Hackmann was relieved by Schroer at the top of the fourth inning.
“I knew why I was pulled,” Hackmann said. “It was just to keep me fresh for the rest of the week. We have two more games in the next two days. We all have to stay fresh, make sure all our arms are good to go.”
Hackmann was a tough act to follow.
“Kody always comes out strong for us,” Schroer said. “He keeps his pitches down so we get a lot of ground balls. He did that very well again tonight.”
Schroer excelled in his relief role, working three innings and yielding no runs.
“I was sticking with my fastball and hitting the corners,” Schroer said.
Hackmann was impressed.
“Josh had really great control,” Hackmann said. “He’s a great reliever. He just pounded the strike zone. He hits his spots unbelievably well.”
In the bottom of the fifth inning, still in a scoreless tie, Decker entered the batter’s box with two outs and teammate Dakota Eikermann on second base, thanks to a single and stolen base.
Decker swung at the first pitch Sheler tossed — and that baseball nearly left the yard, ultimately banging the left-field wall on a fly. Decker’s RBI-double brought a huge eruption from the New Haven dugout.
“I knew what pitch was coming,” Decker said. “From the previous at-bats, I thought their pitcher would throw me a fastball down the middle. I was waiting for it. At first, I though it was gone off my bat, then I realized it wasn’t, so I had to pick it up and get running.”
New Haven tallied four more times in the fifth frame.
“Logan’s hit was clutch,” Schroer said. “I actually thought it was gone right off the bat.”
Hackmann had the same hunch.
“I was going wild in the dugout,” he said. “I thought it was out. We were all psyched after that. It was a clutch, amazing hit.”
New Haven scored twice in the seventh inning and led 7-0.
Union scored its three runs in the eighth frame. New Haven responded with its final two runs in the bottom of the inning, the biggest hit in the frame another RBI-double from Decker.
New Haven stole seven bases in the contest. Schroer and Eikermann each stole two bags, and Hackmann, Grant Steever and Matt Wade each stole one.
Also for New Haven, which will face Washington Friday, 6 p.m. at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field, Jacob Abel had two doubles and an RBI, Matt Wade had three singles and an RBI, Hackmann had two singles and an RBI and Steever had an RBI.
Sheler tossed 100 pitches in his five innings of work, striking out seven, while yielding only one walk and two earned runs. He swung the biggest bat for Union, knocking in Union’s three runs with a bases-clearing single.
Also for Union, Logan Groff drew two walks and had a single, Tyler Pace had a hit, Eli Klenke and Gabe Luna drew two walks apiece and Bobby Curnutte and Michael Bennett each drew one. (Union will face St. Peters Post 313 at 6 p.m., Friday. The season will conclude for the loser of the contest.)
Trent Kormeier tossed an inning of scoreless relief for New Haven and teammate Richard Nelms struck out two batters in his 1.2 innings of scoreless relief.
“Credit belongs to our pitchers,” Decker said. “They certainly did not give up many hits.”