While much has changed in a year, the close rivalry between Washington Post 218 and Elsberry isn’t one of those changes.
Last year, the two teams played for the Senior Legion Ninth District championship. Even with no American Legion sanction this season, the two programs are still fielding teams.
And the most recent meeting ended Wednesday night with a 6-2 Washington win at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field.
“We had quite the fight on our hands facing another lefty in Brian Henke,” Washington Manager Kent Getsee said.
“It was the second time we’ve seen him and what feels like our 100th lefty we’ve seen this year,” Getsee continued. “I cannot ever remember seeing this many left-handed quality pitchers in a season, but it shows just how resilient our guys are. We took some great at-bats up and down the lineup, forcing him to throw pitches we could handle and we capitalized on that.”
Elsberry (5-11) outhit Washington (16-4) in the game, 9-6. Washington made both errors.
However, Washington was able to make better use of its runners to win the game.
Washington took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
In the second, Elsberry scored once and Washington added three runs.
Elsberry cut it to 5-3 in the top of the third. Washington added its final run in the bottom of the fifth.
Caleb Kleekamp started for Washington and the lefty went three innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks for the win. He struck out one.
Tristan Molitor pitched the final four innings, allowing six hits and one walk.
“Caleb Kleekamp got the start and pitched three strong innings, giving way to Tristan Molitor, who came in and was a strike-throwing machine, making Elsberry earn anything they would get,” Getsee said. “Overall, if we cut down on the walks and make an extra play or two, we’ll be as tough as anyone to beat.”
Post 218 tried a different lineup that moved Levi Weber up to the second spot and he responded with two hits, including a triple.
“Levi Weber, whom we moved to the two slot for multiple reasons, had a heck of a day,” Getsee said. “It was a tough lefty and tough hitter in that situation and Levi came out on top.”
Jack Czeschin doubled.
Joe Hackmann, Bryce Mayer and Brayden Mayer each singled.
Washington had three walks and Weber, Blain Tuepker and Zac Coulter earned free passes. Brandon Stahlman was hit by a pitch.
Sam Glosemeyer sacrificed.
Weber scored two of the runs. Stahlman, Hackmann, Coulter and Josh Garbs scored the other runs.
Weber and Bryce Mayer each drove in two. Czeschin had one RBI.
“Bryce Mayer picked up two RBIs as well,” Getsee said. “Jack Czeschin hit a one hopper off the fence and the rest of the guys chipped in either with a hit or chipping away at the pitch count.”
Getsee also credited the defense.
“Defensively, we continue to get better, cutting down on the mistakes and making some spectacular plays in the process,” Getsee said. “Good defense is fun to watch, and we turned in one of the classic defensive plays of the season so far. Levi Weber grabbed a gap shot at the fence and threw a strike glove side to Bryce Mayer, who relayed a strike to catcher Blain Tuepker to cut down a runner by three feet. That is a lot of moving parts and some very good work on our defense. Certainly we know how and what to do and the repetition is coming as we get deeper in the season.”
Henke went the distance for Elsberry, allowing six runs on six hits, three walks and one hit batter. He struck out three.
Offensively, Eric Creech and Brady McLeoud had three hits apiece. McLeoud doubled twice.
Brian Falls also doubled. Henke and Nico Griesbauer singled.
McLeoud, Ben Foster, Tommy Grote and Braydon Donhardt walked. Grote stole a base.
McLeoud and Grote scored runs. Griesbauer recorded an RBI.
Unless something changes, this is likely the final meeting of the season between the longtime rivals. Washington also won June 6 in Elsberry, 7-1.