Bouncing back from its first loss of the season Friday, the St. Charles Post 312 Freshman Legion team captured the Ninth District Tournament championship during the weekend, beating Washington Post 218 twice, 5-2 and 2-0.
“It was a roller coaster weekend for sure,” Post 218 Manager Scott Forrester said. “Overall I am very proud of what this team has accomplished. The win Friday and the close nature of both games Saturday and Sunday shows me we can compete with anyone when we play our game.”
Both teams advance to this week’s State Tournament at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field. St. Charles faces the Ste. Genevieve at 1 p.m. Wednesday while Washington (26-10) will play the Eureka Post 177 at 7 p.m.
“It was a great building opportunity going into the State Tournament,” Forrester said. “I think the Ninth district will be represented well with us and St. Charles.”
After losing for the first time this season Friday night to Washington, St. Charles bounced back to beat Elsberry-Winfield Saturday in the losers’ bracket final and then beat Washington, 5-2, to bring everyone back Sunday.
In the winner-take-all contest, St. Charles prevailed, 2-0.
“I was disappointed Saturday because I felt the team didn’t give the effort needed to win a big game like that,” Forrester said. “Sunday was a great game and a couple of mistakes was the difference. The team showed up and played well but St. Charles played just a little better. We had opportunities both Saturday and Sunday. We just could not get the runs when we needed.”
There was one common theme for both days — the heat and humidity. Both days were sunny, hot and humid.
Coming back from an earlier game, St. Charles broke on top in the third inning, scoring three runs.
Post 312 added two more runs in the fourth and needed all of them.
Post 218 left the bases loaded in the sixth and seventh innings.
In the bottom of the seventh, Post 218 started with walks to Teddy Meyer and Quinton Poepsel and both came around to score.
Washington had the bases loaded with Poepsel scoring on a walk to Drew Piontek in the seventh, putting the winning run at the plate. However, Hunter Kline was able to strike out the next two batters to secure the win for St. Charles.
Tommy Ruether had two of the five Washington hits in the game. One of those was a double. He also walked.
Nathan Breckenkamp had one hit and two walks.
Washington’s other hits, both singles, came from Eli Marquart and Matt Piontek.
Poepsel walked twice and scored.
Drew Piontek walked and drove in a run. Meyer added a walk and a run.
On the hill, Zach Stahlman started and took the loss for Washington. Over five innings, he allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits and one walk. He struck out three.
Matt Piontek finished, throwing two scoreless innings. He walked three and struck out one.
For St. Charles, TJ Young was the winner, going six innings. He allowed five hits and two walks and struck out five.
Jordan Dowdall followed and allowed two runs on four walks while getting two outs.
Kline earned the save by striking out the final two batters. He also walked one.
Brendan Krupp and Jaron Graner doubled for St. Charles. Drew Cannon, Bryce Labarge, Nick Debeer, Young, Luke Hardin and Dowdall singled.
Hardin scored two runs while Cannon, Kline and Krupp each scored once.
Cannon, Labarge, Young, Hardin and Graner drove in runs. Cannon and Labarge stole bases.
After Saturday’s outcome, the teams returned Sunday afternoon to determine the district champion. Both teams already had qualified for the state tournament this week in Washington.
Playing for pride and plaques, both teams went out and gave the crowd the type of championship game worthy of the district’s elite squads.
The game was scoreless until the top of the fourth inning, when St. Charles pushed its first run across.
Meisner reached on an error and stole second. With two outs, Krupp drilled a ground-rule double over the center field fence to bring Meisner home.
St. Charles added an insurance run in the seventh. Krupp’s third hit of the game, and second double, opened the inning. He came home on a sacrifice fly by Dylan Hallgren.
Krupp had to return to the plate just in front of the diving tag attempt by Meyer to have the run counted.
Washington had its chances in the game and stranded runners in scoring position in the second, fourth and fifth innings.
Pitching was strong for both teams, Cannon earning the shutout, holding Washington to four hits and three walks. He struck out seven batters.
For Post 218, Unnerstall went the distance, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and one walk. He struck out three.
Drew Piontek had three of the Washington hits, all singles.
Meyer had the other hit.
Zach Finley walked twice and Unnerstall walked once. Ryan McDermott stole a base.
For St. Charles, Krupp had three hits, including two doubles. He scored once and drove in a run.
Tyler Oetting had the other hit. Meisner scored and stole a base. Labarge drew a walk.