The game was closer than the score.
Washington Post 218 Juniors were able to get just enough hits and capitalize on some St. Clair mistakes to get the 6-1 win Thursday night at Orchard Park.
“Their starter (Sam Brown) did a good job of keeping us off balance early,” Post 218 Coach Phillip Kleekamp said. “Brown was making our hitters expand their zones, which made for a lot of weak contact and easy outs. Once we got through four innings and were able to get their starter out of the game, I thought our at-bats got much better. We started hitting more line drives and were able to get a few rallies going.”
St. Clair Coach David Mailes said the game was much tighter than the five-run difference.
“The Washington game was closer than the score shows,” St. Clair Coach David Mailes said. “We just couldn’t get the runners home and had some base running errors.”
Brown had Washington stymied for a bit early on, but Post 218 eventually broke through after he left the game due to high pitch count. Brown left after 3.2 innings pitched. He finished with three strikeouts.
Washington was able to get a run in the top of the first to take a 1-0 lead. Post 218 made it 3-0 in the third inning. St. Clair was able to make it a 3-1 game in the bottom half of the third inning off a Washington error. Each team committed two defensive miscues in the game.
Once Brown left the game, Zac Mailes took over on the mound for St. Clair. Washington was able to tag Mailes for three more runs in the game. Clay Banderman also saw action from the mound in the game for St. Clair.
“Brown, Mailes and Banderman combined for a solid pitching outing,” Mailes said. “Mailes has maintained a 2.47 ERA for most of the season, while Brown made one of his best starts of the season.”
Washington starter Josh Hendrickson earned the win, tossing six innings and allowing one unearned run. Hendrickson allowed six hits while striking out four St. Clair hitters. Hendrickson also had a pair of hits with his bat.
“We got a great effort from Josh Hendrickson,” Kleekamp said. “After he got used to the mound, he was able to settle in pretty well. The only run allowed was unearned. Josh was able to navigate around a few walks and errors early to give us six strong innings resulting in the victory. Josh also had a solid day offensively picking up two hits as well.”
Rett Corley pitched the final inning.
“Rett Corley came in to close it out in the seventh,” Kleekamp said. “Rhett came out of the bullpen throwing strikes and was able to make short work of St. Clair in the seventh. We have been really stressing to all of our pitchers to work ahead in the count, which forces our opponents to expand the strike zone. Rett was aggressive and went right after the hitters in his one inning of work.”
Washington’s offense was provided by Matthew Sinnott who had a pair of RBIs.
Kaden Bollman and Bryce DeCoster each had an RBI in the victory. Adam Molitor had two of Washington’s seven hits in the game.
“Adam Molitor had a great day at the plate picking up three hits and one walk,” said Kleekamp. “Adam really took some quality at-bats tonight. He saw a lot of pitches and did a great job of taking the ball the other way deep in the counts.”
Meanwhile, St. Clair managed six hits in the game. Tre Tinker had a pair of those hits.
Washington improved to 12-3 with the win, while St. Clair dropped to 2-5 on the season with the loss.
St. Clair will play a doubleheader at Union on Sunday against Union and Elsberry. The first game will begin at 2:30 p.m.
Notes — Kleekamp and his wife, Mary, welcomed a daughter, Lily, to their family earlier in the week. He led the team in the absence of Manager Kent Getsee.