It was one of those days where everything came together for the Union Post 297 Junior Legion baseball team.
The team’s offense produced more than enough runs, the pitching staff allowed virtually nothing and the team’s defense was nearly flawless in the field.
The result was a sweep.
Looking solid in all facets of the game, Post 297 clicked on all cylinders from start to finish in a doubleheader sweep over Pacific on Sunday, winning game one 8-0 and game two 4-0 at Union High School.
Simply put, it was a good day for Post 297.
Union Manager Ryan Bailey credited his pitching staff.
“Our pitching is carrying us right now,” Bailey said. “Ethan Hughes and Jerod Mattingly both threw great games for us on Sunday, going five innings each and not allowing Pacific to get anything going. Chris Griffin came into both games in relief and continued right where our starters left off. Those three have all been throwing well of late. And we’ll need that as we move ahead in our district season and as we try to make the tournament at the end of the summer.”
Bailey added the team’s offense did enough and also took advantage of its opportunities.
“We struggled hitting the ball in the first game and we were helped out by Pacific errors,” Bailey said. “In the second game a few guys started taking better at-bats and even though we didn’t score as many runs we were much happier with our approach and results at the plate.”
On the other hand, a lack of offense and too many miscues in the field plagued Pacific Post 320 from start to finish.
“Multiple errors coupled with silent bats continue to cost us,” Pacific Manager Joe Elking said, summing it up well.
Bailey said Monday’s game with Cuba was postponed by rain after three innings. Union (12-2, 5-1) was scheduled to host Sullivan on Tuesday and Wentzville on Wednesday at 5 p.m. Post 297 also heads to Crocker on Thursday for a doubleheader. Game one starts at 5 p.m.
“We have four district games coming up this week, three of them against Wentzville and Elsberry whose combined district record is 10-3,” Bailey noted. “With football and basketball camps, as well as some vacations, we’ll be down a few guys for each game, but that’s to be expected in summer ball. Hopefully we’ll play the way we’re capable of and be able to keep our chances of finishing in the top eight of the district alive.”
Pacific Post 320 is at Sullivan Wednesday at 6 p.m. and is at New Haven on Friday at 8 p.m. Monday’s game vs. Wentzville was called off after one-half inning, Elking said.
Elking noted his team’s schedule has been disrupted by rain several times. The June 4 date with Sullivan was rained out.
In Sunday’s opener, Dillon Breeden, Hughes, Justin Mentz and Kendall Sheler all had one RBI apiece for Post 297, while Mattingly scored three runs and Nick Kretzler scored twice. Mike Wachter, Nick Eads and Breeden scored one run apiece.
Hughes was stellar on the mound for Union, allowing just two hits in five innings while striking out 10 and walking only one. Griffin pitched two innings and didn’t allow a hit. He struck out five.
Union took a 3-0 lead by scoring one run apiece in the second, third and fourth innings. A five-run fifth inning blew the game open.
In the fifth, Wachter singled and then Kretzler was hit by a pitch. Breeden singled and then Eads reached on an error and two runs scored. Blake Pickard drew a walk and then Hughes reached on a fielder’s choice, with another run crossing the plate. Mentz then hit an RBI single. A sac fly from Sheler made it 8-0.
Pacific’s Alex Westermann and Sam Fuchs had one hit apiece. Noah Miller pitched for Pacific, allowing three earned runs and striking out five.
In game two, Union scored four runs on 10 hits. Breeden hit an RBI double in the second inning to get Union on the board. A run in the fifth and two more in the sixth finished things off.
In the fifth, Sheler singled, stole second and went to third on an error. Kieran Watson’s sacrifice scored Sheler. Pickard hit an RBI single in the sixth. He later scored on an error.
Sheler went 3-3 at the plate. Watson, Pickard and Breeden had RBIs. Drew Reed reached base twice and scored a run, with Eads, Pickard and Sheler adding one run apiece.
“Kendall Sheler and Drew Reed had multiple quality at-bats, hitting the ball hard,” Bailey said. “Nick Eads and Dillon Breeden also had hard hits.”
Mattingly earned the win on the hill, striking out eight and allowing just two hits in five shutout innings. Griffin pitched two innings, striking out two.
Pacific got hits from Cody Rettinghaus, Miller and Brandon Lindemann. Joe Acton and Dillyn Bequette drew walks. Pacific left seven runners on base.
Wentzville Post 323 defeated Pacific’s Juniors 9-1 in a rain-shortened game at Fireman’s Park on Saturday.
Post 320 was limited to two hits in the game, and the team left 10 runners on base. Four errors in the field also hurt Pacific in the game, Elking said.