It could have been the highlight of the entire American Legion Wood Bat Invitational.
Going into the top of the fifth inning of Sunday’s semifinal, Blue Springs Post 499 Fike was down 7-0 to Washington (Mo.) Post 218. Post 499 made an improbable comeback when it scored one run in the fifth and exploded for eight runs in the sixth to grab a 9-7 lead.
However, Washington scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth and the game ended on a two-hour time limit as Fike fell 10-9 at Hidden Valley Park.
“It was a tough loss, but I am proud as can be,” Fike manager Doug Lohman said. “It was a good team that we played. With the way we fought, I am proud of every one of them. One thing about our kids is we’re never out of the game. They never quit.”
Post 499 went into the bottom of the sixth ahead 9-7 and relief pitcher Jackson Arnold came into the game with two runners on to try and shut the door. A walk loaded the bases before Spencer Hunter blasted a two-run double to deep left-center field to tie it.
With runners at second and third, a wild pitch bounced in the dirt and got by catcher Luke Moehle, who raced to the backstop to retrieve the ball and fired it home. Arnold applied the tag on Jake Jinkerson at home, but the ball popped out of his glove. Washington took the lead. Post 218 was then the beneficiary of the game being called due to a time limit.
But that moment couldn’t take away from the incredible comeback that Fike staged in the sixth. A combination of Washington errors and timely hitting led to the rally.
“It started with a walk and that got things going,” Moehle said. “A lot of things went our way. I hit one in the hole and the shortstop got it but didn’t have enough time to make the throw to first. We really capitalized on them. We had a lot of quality at-bats.
“Their pitcher got a lot of first pitch outs. As the game went on, we waited on him and let the ball travel a little bit. And we started doing things later in counts instead of early.”
Kyle Gaines and Koby Powell led the Fike offense. Gaines was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run; Powell was 2-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and a run, Ross Greco was 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI; and Moehle was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI.
On Saturday, Fike advanced to the semifinals after a 8-0 win against Overland (Mo.) Post 338 Thoman Boothe in the quarterfinals.
Scott Vestal got the win as he tossed a shutout and allowed just three hits and struck out five.
Moehle was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a double; Powell was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs; and Gaines was 1-for-4 with two RBIs.
ELSBERRY POST 226 4, BLUE SPRINGS ROD’S SPORTS A’S 1: Elsberry (Mo.) Post 226 pitcher Chasen Anderson wasn’t overpowering but kept a red hot Blue Springs Rod’s Sports A’s team off balance in the other semifinal Sunday.
He induced several ground balls and gave up just one hit on five runs and struck out two in a 4-1 Elsberry win Sunday.
It wasn’t until the third inning when the A’s hit a fly ball, a deep one to left field off the bat of Jake Lufft. They scored their only run in the fourth. Zane Barr doubled and Anthony Gunn singled. Barr then scored on Jackson Caley’s fielder’s choice ground ball to shortstop. Anderson then retired the last 12 batters he faced to eliminate the A’s.
“He threw a lot of strikes and I think we only had one walk,” said A’s assistant manager Lance Rooney, who took over for his father, manager Mike Rooney, after the elder Rooney was ejected. “We put it in play, but we hit it right at them. That kid we faced was pretty solid.”
Added A’s pitcher/second baseman Dustin Brewer: “He is kind of like me, he is a backwards pitcher. He throws his curveball, then throws his fastball and he got us out on our front foot. Using wood bats, we’re not really used to it and rolled over some ground balls.”
A’s starting pitcher Colton Best struggled with his command in the second inning, walking three straight batters, one of which resulted in a run. Tyler Turnbull pushed across another run with an RBI infield single that ended Best’s day.
Brewer, normally a closer, came in and pitched 5 2/3 innings. He allowed two runs on nine hits and struck out five in his longer than normal appearance.
“I actually haven’t done that in years (pitched more than five innings),” Brewer said. “But we were in a situation with our pitching – we ran out. I felt like I pitched well and I had a good defense behind me.”
Elsberry, which also beat the A's 2-1 in pool play, went on to claim the title with a 9-7 win over Washington, finishing 7-0 in the tournament.
LEE’S SUMMIT OUTLAWS 8, QUINCY POST 37 6: Jaxson Hill drove in three runs as the Outlaws topped Quincy (Ill.) Post 37 in a consolation crossover game on Saturday.
Trailing 5-2, the Outlaws erupted for six runs in the third inning to claim an 8-5 lead. Lee’s Summit held on until the game ended early on a time limit after five innings.
Jarrett O’Shaughnessy had two hits and Carter Bradford had two RBIs to help spark the Outlaws. Wyatt Urzendowksi struck out two in three innings for the win.