Call it a win for area baseball.
The first tournament of the season to reach its completion was decided Monday night when the Washington Post 218 A team defeated Pacific for the Washington Tournament title.
While Washington won the game, 11-6, it easily could have gone the other way.
Pacific was in the midst of a rally in the bottom of the seventh inning and had the bases loaded with nobody out and the momentum. The team in purple got a hard-hit ball, which found the glove of Washington second baseman Kabren Koelling, who then threw to first to complete a double play.
Had that hit gone through, it’s a much different game and Pacific might have taken home the championship plaque.
We came extremely close to having two completely different teams contesting the title.
Jefferson City led Washington heading into the bottom of the seventh in Sunday’s first semifinal, 7-3. Post 218 scored five times to come back for the win, 8-7.
Pacific, the Pool A runner-up, trailed Pool B winner Eureka going to the top of the seventh inning, 3-1, and scored three runs to win the game, 4-3.
Washington (8-4) has followed the evolution of recent successful Washington Freshman Legion teams. Things weren’t too good at the start with three run-rule losses to the Gamers.
However, repetition has fostered teamwork and improvement. The team already has played 12 games and that cohesion gives Washington a little bit of an edge over teams just getting going.
Pacific (5-3) must be tired of playing Washington. All three losses have come at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field. The first was a Washington comeback win in a storm-shortened game. The second was during Washington Tournament pool action.
Eureka and Jefferson City both were impressive teams. People who watched multiple games in the tournament talked about how solid both teams were. Jefferson City was the Missouri American Legion Freshman state runner-up last summer.
There were two other area teams in the event, Union’s 15A and 14A squads.
The Union 15A team has some of the veterans of last year’s Freshman Legion third-place state team. There are several newcomers as well and they’re still learning how to play with each other. Union is 2-4 and has quality, but probably not a ton of depth.
Union’s 14A team is one of the youngest playing in the COVID-19 League this summer. While the team is 0-6, the important thing is not the record. These kids will learn valuable lessons in playing the game and hopefully be able to apply those to their future in the sport.
If you missed the A Tournament last week, there’s another one scheduled later this week at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field. This one is an AAA Tournament and there are two three-team pools playing in Washington.
Two three-team pools also will be competing in Elsberry.
Post 218 is in Pool A with Valmeyer, Ill., and Sullivan. Pool B consists of the Illinois Gators, Eureka and the Prospects.
The Elsberry portion has Elsberry, Alton, Ill., and Kirkwood in Pool A with Hannibal, Highland, Ill., and Ballwin in Pool B.
In games here, Washington has the 6 p.m. pool games Thursday and Friday, taking on Sullivan Thursday and Valmeyer Friday.
The 8:15 p.m. game Thursday is the Gators against the Prospects. Eureka plays the Prospects in the late game Friday.
The final pool games take place Saturday morning. Sullivan plays Valmeyer at 10 a.m. and Eureka faces the Gators at noon.
Qaurterfinal playoff games at each venue start at 2:30 p.m.
Semifinals and the title contest will be played at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field Sunday starting at noon. The championship has a 4:30 p.m. start time.
If the crowds are any indication, people are happy to be able to have this baseball action taking place. We’re fortunate that we can have live sporting events in our area.