Recent Van Horn graduates Kyle Schnakenberg and Brandon Borchert are closing in on their final days playing baseball with each other.
They have both played for the Falcons the past four years and are getting one more shot at playing for the same team with Independence Post 21.
In their second game Friday and final pool play game in the American Legion Wood Bat Invitational, the duo combined to go 4-for-4 with two RBIs and five runs scored a 14-5 mercy-rule drubbing of the Zone 2 and crosstown rival Independence Bears at Hidden Valley Park.
“It’s pretty disappointing to be honest,” Borchert said of playing his final games with Schnakenberg. “We came into Van Horn together and really excelled over the years. We had some great games over the years, but we have to go our separate ways and become men.”
Post 21 finished pool play with a 2-2 record while the Bears finished the tournament 0-4, suffering four mercy-rule losses. Neither team will advance to the quarterfinals but Post 21 will play a final consolation crossover game Saturday against Elsberry (Mo.) Post 226 at 5:30 p.m. on Hidden Valley Park’s Field 3.
Schnakenberg has served as a consistent hitter at the top of the Post 21 lineup as of late. He showed why when he collected three hits against the Bears.
“I’ve been trying to stay through the ball and hit everything on the ground,” Schnakenberg said. “I was in a slump before and hitting a lot of fly balls, so I worked on trying to stay through the ball and hit balls hard on the ground so I can use my speed.”
Added Post 21 manager Tom Bush: “I was torn with who to put at leadoff all year long, and then I finally got (Schnakenberg) in there and he’s finally realized what he needs to do to be a leadoff hitter. He’s done a good job for us.”
The Bears came into the tournament with just 11 players and had to use players who don’t normally pitch on the mound. Manager Jeramey Mabie’s team started the game off on a high note with a pair of runs on Cameron Best’s RBI single and Josh Jarvis’ sacrifice fly in the first inning.
But things started to go awry in the bottom half of the inning for Curren Gentry, who made his first start of the season. He walked five consecutive batters, resulting in two runs, and was pulled for Cam Watters, who made just his third appearance of the season.
“Bottom line, we ran out of pitching,” Mabie said. “We had 11 guys to start this tournament and we didn’t make plays and gave up free passes. Basically for us, if you could throw, you were pitching.”
The defense did Watters no favors as a pair of pop flies dropped in for singles. In fact, Post 21 didn’t have a single hard hit ball in the first inning but managed to score nine runs and sent 13 batters to the plate.
“I’ve been a part of games like that before but I don’t really consider that baseball in my opinion,” Borchert said. “It gets a little sloppy, but a win is a win at the end of the day.”
Borchert singled, took two bases on wild pitches and scored on a Mason Steele grounder for a 10-2 lead in the second. Best added another RBI single and Jared Larson drew a bases loaded walk to bring the Bears within six runs in the third.
Post 21 countered with four runs in the bottom half of the third, highlighted by Myles Odom’s RBI double to deep center and Josh Cruz’s two-run double.
Jordan Mabie added a RBI double in the fourth for the Bears to cap the scoring.
Although his team ended the day with a win, Bush wasn’t completely satisfied with the way the tournament turned out for his team, but was happy to end pool play on a high note.
“Like Brandon said, a win is a win and that’s why you play the game,” Bush said. It’s always good to end the tournament on a positive note.“
WASHINGTON POST 218 5, INDEPENDENCE POST 21 0: The bats went silent for Post 21 in the first game of the day in a loss to Washington.
Gehrig Bristow got the team’s only hit and Tanner Blau pitched all seven innings in a loss.
“We swung the bats terribly this morning,” Bush said. “It was as bad as I’ve ever seen. We only had one hit and we never hit a ball hard.”
Washington finished unbeaten in pool play and earned a quarterfinal berth. Post 218 meets the Lee’s Summit Outlaws at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Hidden Valley Park’s Jim Moran Field. The winner advances to Sunday’s 11 a.m. semifinals.
DeSOTO SCMI 16, INDEPENDENCE BEARS 0: In their first game of the day, the Bears fell to SCMI in a mercy-rule loss.
Mabie and Jarvis both had two hits and Evan Stoner suffered the loss.