Blue Springs Post 499 Fike didn’t exactly hit the ball hard against the Belton Pirates, but it didn’t need to in order to put up a crooked number.
Thanks to solid pitching and aggressive base running, Post 499 stole six bases and took advantage of errors and wild pitches from the Pirates to earn a 9-1 victory in Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader at Hidden Valley Park.
Fike swept the doubleheader after a five-inning, 11-1 victory in the nightcap.
“We ran well, that’s for sure,” Fike manager Doug Lohman said. “With the exception of one play, we executed like we wanted to.”
Fike totaled six hits, with half of those coming on bunts or infield singles in the first game.
Fike starting pitcher Thadd Allen struggled early, issuing five walks in the first two innings. He surrendered a bases-loaded walk in the first inning. After that frame, Post 499 pitching shut down Belton.
Scott Vestal came in relief during the third inning and picked up the win. He tossed two innings and allowed three hits, walked two and struck out four.
“I felt like I did fine. I just tried to go out there and throw strikes and let my defense do the work,” Vestal said.
Tyler Slinkerd finished it off after pitching three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out two. Everything went the way Lohman had planned. He wanted to use as many pitchers as possible to preserve the arms of his pitchers for this weekend’s Branson Tournament.
“He came in and threw strikes, which is always a good thing,” Lohman said of Slinkerd. “He made them earn it.
“We’re just letting our pitchers get basically two innings apiece today,” Lohman added. “We want them to get a little bit of work in and just keep getting better. We want to be ready for this weekend. We have five games.”
Fike (7-2) tied it in the bottom of the first when Ross Greco scored on a wild pitch. In the bottom of the third, Blue Springs took advantage of errors to make it 4-1. Aaron Jones laid down a bunt single and a throwing error allowed Koby Powell to score from second. Greco scored on a wild pitch and a throwing error on the same play allowed Kyle Gaines to come home.
One inning later, Grant Lorenzen reached on a bunt single and a throwing error to first allowed Quinton Weld to score. Lorenzen scored on a wild pitch and another error on the same play let Jones score. William Chrisman grad Will Fisher was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make it 8-1 at the end of four frames.
Gaines capped the scoring for Fike in the sixth when he drilled a triple to the left-center field gap and scored on yet another wild pitch.
“I felt all right in the first two at-bats,” Gaines said. “Then I felt good near the end. Every game we want to be aggressive, and we did that.”
In Game 2, Jackson Arnold picked up the win in two innings of relief. He gave up one unearned run on four hits, walked one and struck out one.
Fike scored three runs in the first, three in the third and five in the fourth.
Powell paced the offense with two hits, one run and three RBIs. Fisher was 2-for-2 with two RBIs and a run, Greco was 2-for-2 with two runs scored, and Tommy Mortallaro added a pair of RBIs.