Good news came in twos.
Union’s 14A baseball program not only earned its first victory of the season Thursday night, but ended up sweeping Kirkwood in a doubleheader.
Union (2-11) won the opener, 15-4, and prevailed in the nightcap, 3-2.
“They broke through tonight,” Union Manager Gary D’Onofrio said. “They learned how to play and act as a team tonight. The future is bright for this group.”
D’Onofrio said all the lessons the team learned in the first 11 games of the season finally yielded results.
“I am proud of the guys,” he said. “They have been working hard and it paid off. The bats came alive tonight and the defense was great in the first game.”
Union outhit Kirkwood, 13-2.
Union, the road team, opened with three runs in the top of the first. Kirkwood scored twice in its half of the inning, and took a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the third.
Union’s big rally came in the fourth inning, when it scored nine times. Union added three runs in the fifth and ended the game early on the run rule.
There were many standouts.
“Nick D’Onofrio and Braeden Pracht had six hits and seven RBIs combined,” Gary D’Onofrio said. “Ardell Young had four steals and D’Onofrio had three.
Nathan Keith pitched the complete game, allowing four runs on two hits, seven walks and two hit batters. He struck out three.
“Nate dug deep and worked through a complete game,” D’Onofrio said. “The defense was great. Nick D’Onofrio had some great plays in center field. Patrick Nolan played a good game in left also.”
Nick D’Onofrio had three hits, including a pair of doubles. Pracht singled three times.
Young, Keith and Nolan had two hits apiece. Nolan doubled.
Will Hoer also doubled.
Union added nine walks. Young, Hunter Kleekamp and Cole Cudney each walked twice. D’Onofrio, Kyle Cudney and Karson Wright walked once.
Karson Eads, Keith and Kleekamp were hit by pitches.
Young stole four bases. D’Onofrio had three steals. Hoer, Kleekamp and Wright each stole one base.
Young scored three runs. D’Onofrio, Kleekamp and Cole Cudney each scored twice. Keith, Pracht, Kyle Cudney, Hoer, Nolan and Wright scored once.
Pracht drove in four runs. D’Onofrio and Hoer each drove in three. Keith had two RBIs while Kyle Cudney, Eads and Nolan each drove in one run.
The second contest was a short one and Union ended up winning, 3-2.
D’Onofrio said the curfew of 10 p.m. ended the game. Lights had to be turned off at that time.
Full statistics were not available at deadline, but D’Onofrio said there were many highlights.
“Eads pitched really well,” D’Onofrio said. “Young had two hits. Kleekamp turned a nice double play.”