It was everything the fans wanted to see, and more.
Playing Saturday at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field, host Washington got a two-run home run from Brandon Stahlman in the bottom of the sixth inning to nudge past Union, 5-3.
“Union is a solid team and we were happy to come away with the victory, for sure,” Washington Manager Kent Getsee said.
Washington (15-3) opened the game with a run in the bottom of the first inning, but that lead didn’t last long.
Union (5-2) pushed two runs across the plate in the top of the second.
Washington retook the lead with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. However, Union tied the game in the top of the sixth, and that’s how it stood when Stahlman stepped to the plate with two outs and Sam Glosemeyer on second base.
“Offensively, we came out a little flat after all of the festivities Friday night, so we had to find another gear and it took us a minute to do that,” Getsee said. “We pecked away and plated a couple in the fourth and sixth for the victory, but it was Brandon Stahlman’s bat that came to the rescue on this day. He gave us the go-ahead RBI in the fourth and a huge two-run blast to right center for the eventual victory in the sixth.”
Stahlman’s blast over the right field fence helped him become the game’s winning pitcher. Stahlman threw two innings in relief of Caleb Kleekamp, allowing one run on two hits and a walk. He struck out a pair.
“Brandon Stahlman ended up with the victory as they tied it in the sixth and he held on for the win,” Getsee said. “Brandon also did a great job of working ahead and keeping them to a minimum, but they can really hit the ball and we had our work cut out for us.”
Kleekamp pitched five innings, allowing two runs on eight hits and two hit batters. He struck out six.
“Caleb Kleekamp gave us five strong innings against a very good hitting Union team,” Getsee said. “They have a lot of talent with the bats and Caleb did a great job of staying focused and working around the trouble. They stranded 10 against him, so that shows what a great job our defense did behind him as well.”
Union outhit Washington in the game, 10-7. The visitors used a trio of pitchers in the game.
Kaden Motley started and went 1.2 innings, allowing an unearned run on two hits and two walks. He struck out one.
Isaiah Hoelscher was next and he went two innings, allowing two runs on two hits and one walk. He struck out one batter.
Kaden Hughes took the decision, going 2.1 innings, allowing two runs on three hits. He struck out one.
Stahlman was the hitting standout for Washington with three of the team’s seven hits, including the home run and a double.
“He had another great day going 3-3 with four RBIs,” Getsee said. “We faced some quality pitching from Union and the guys worked hard to keep things under control.”
Jack Czeschin, Zac Coulter, Blain Tuepker and Levi Weber also singled.
Stahlman, Glosemeyer and Weber walked.
Czeschin stole a base.
Stahlman crossed the plate twice. Coulter, Glosemeyer and Weber each scored once.
Stahlman had four of the five RBIs. Czeschin also drove in a run.
For Union, Motley had two hits, a triple and a double.
Hoelscher had two hits, including a double.
Mason Bailey also had a pair of singles.
Derek Hulsey contributed a double. Peyton Burke, Andrew Bruner and Matt Bray each singled.
Blake Borgmann drew a walk.
Andy Morrow and Bray were hit by pitches. Bailey stole a base.
Bruner, Hoelscher and Bailey scored the Union runs.
Bailey drove in two runs. Hulsey posted one RBI.
Former Union High School standout Ethan Hughes managed the Wildcats in the Saturday games. He did not respond to a request for comments prior to deadline.
The game was the first of a three-team event. In the second game, Union was defeated by Valmeyer, Ill., following a rain delay. The final game between Valmeyer and Washington was rained out.