With runs at a premium, the Union Post 297 Juniors made sure to make their first few opportunities count.
Post 297 (5-2) recorded a Ninth District victory at Pacific Post 320 Wednesday, 3-1.
Union scratched out one run in the first inning and another in the third to go ahead, 2-0.
“It was important to get an early lead because we knew this would be a close game,” Union Post 297 Manager Ryan Bailey said. “Evan Hall was able to get a doink hit and then Blake Borgmann used some power and drove him in with a double. It was good to see our big bats come trough for us.”
Pacific got a run in during the bottom of the fourth inning and Union added an insurance run in the top of the seventh.
Post 297 outhit Post 320, 5-4, in the game with two errors attributed to each squad.
Post 320 Manager Phil Gilcrease said the game was a pitching duel.
“Things just didn’t go our way,” Gilcrease said. “We didn’t play clean baseball both in the field and on the base paths.”
Union’s Coleton Anderson was the winning pitcher. He worked 3.1 innings on the mound and allowed one unearned run on two hits and three walks with three strikeouts.
Jude Tenny pitched the next 2.2 innings and held Pacific scoreless on two hits and four walks with three strikeouts.
Evan Hall notched the save, closing out the game on a one-two-three seventh inning on six pitches with one strikeout.
“Adding a run in the top of the seventh inning was huge,” Bailey said. “Coleton Anderson led off with a single and then after a couple walks Jude Tenny was able to get a big hit to score one. That breathing room was all Evan Hall needed as he closed out the game in six pitches giving us our most efficient inning of the night.”
While Union scored Borgmann’s first-inning fly ball a double, Pacific scored it an error on the left fielder.
Mason Bailey, Tenny, Hall, Borgmann and Anderson all singled in the contest.
Tenny drove in two runs.
Mason Bailey, Hall and Anderson each scored once.
“We were able to manufacture our second run with some aggressive and intelligent base running by Mason Bailey,” Ryan Bailey said. “After getting on with a single, Mason applied pressure with his turn and got a bad cut throw and moved up to second base. Then on a pop-up to the catcher, he noticed the third baseman come in on the pop-up so he tagged and went to third. The shortstop tried to cover but the throw got away and Mason popped up and came home. It was one of the better baserunning sequences I’ve seen a player have and it ended up being the winning run.”
Mason Bailey, Hall and Will Beckman all reached on walks.
Anderson stole two bases and Beckman one.
Borgmann, the Union catcher, threw out two baserunners attempting to steal second.
On the Pacific side, Tyler Anderson pitched 6.1 innings and allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits and two walks. He recorded 10 strikeouts.
“Tyler Anderson threw a great game and he is really coming into his own so far this season,” Gilcrease said. “It’s the little things that decides the outcome and we didn’t do the little things. I am proud of the way that the guys responded though, and we learned what it takes to stay mentally focused through seven innings.”
Jayden Mach got the last two outs for Post 320. He surrendered one hit and one walk with one strikeout.
At the plate, Trevor Klund and Dylan Myers both doubled for Pacific. Mach and Andrew Payne each rapped out a single.
Tyler Anderson and Myers both walked twice. Jack Meyer, Ayden Biedenstein and Faolin Kreienkamp each walked once.
Ryan Bailey said the Union defense stepped up in big situations.
“We made two big defensive plays at the plate that kept us in the lead,” he said. “Evan Hall took a groundball at third and threw out a runner trying to score in the bottom of the third. It’s a play that fundamentally is easy but in terms of importance there is a lot that can go wrong. Evan made it look easy and Blake put a nice tag on the runner. In the sixth, Dylan McLone hit Coleton Anderson with a cutoff throw and Coleton cut down a runner at home coming in with the tying run. That’s a huge play in the game. If they score there they have all of the momentum and this game probably turns out differently. We needed our defense tonight and it came through for us.”
The Post 297 juniors played a pair of doubleheaders at St. Peters Post 313 Thursday and Rhineland Post 147 Friday. The team will host Warrenton VFW Post 2180 Sunday at 4 p.m.
Post 320 hosted a doubleheader with Hannibal Post 55 Friday and next plays at Washington Post 218 Sunday in a pair of games beginning at 1 p.m.