Easton Harmsen and Christian Lynn got the job done on the mound, in the field and at the plate.
The trio led Blue Springs Post 499 Fike to a nail-biting 2-1 victory over Warrensburg Post 131 in a American Legion Zone 2 Tournament elimination game Friday afternoon at Hidden Valley Park.
Harmsen was the winning pitcher, scored the winning run and made a defensive gem to make sure Warrensburg didn’t have an opportunity to tie the game at 2-all in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Lynn scored the first run of the game, drove home Harmsen with the game-winning run and threw two innings of scoreless relief to pick up the save for Fike (19-14).
Fike now meets Blue Springs Rod’s Sports A’s at 4 p.m. Saturday. The season comes to an end for the loser of that game. The winner advances to the losers’ bracket final against the Lee’s Summit Outlaws at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The finals are set for 1 p.m. Sunday.
Harmsen allowed just one run and two hits through five innings, and had to leave with a runner on second base in the bottom of the fifth inning because of the 105-pitch rule.
Lynn came in to pitch and Harmsen took his place at shortstop.
Following a Lynn pitch, the return throw from catcher Tyler Slinkerd glanced off the pitcher’s glove and caromed over to Harmsen.
Warrensburg’s Peyton Seiz was on second base with two outs, and took off for third.
“I saw him take off for third base and knew we had to make the play,” Harmsen said. “I went after the ball right after it went off Christian’s glove and we were able to get an easy out at third.
“They had just scored a run to make it a 2-1 game and we didn’t want a runner on third base.”
Fike manager Matt Hagerty called it “the biggest defensive play of the game.
“Easton was alert, saw the ball bounce away from Christian and he went right after it and got the runner at third. It was just a huge play,” Hagerty said.
And it set the stage for Lynn’s two shutout innings of relief.
“We really haven’t used Christian that much on the mound because he is so valuable to us at shortstop,” Hagerty added, “but he got the job done today.
“It was just a great team win. We live to play another day, and that’s a great feeling.”
Lynn opened the third inning with a base hit and stole second. He then scored on Tommy Mortallaro’s infield single when Warrensburg shortstop Emmet Parrot threw the ball away at first base.
Harmsen led off the fifth inning with a bunt single and went to second base on a wild pitch. He then scored on Lynn’s RBI single.
“It’s great to win this game because our season was over if we didn’t get a win,” Lynn said. “I really wanted to save the game for Easton because he pitched such a great game. I know he would have pitched a complete game if he hadn’t reached the pitch count.”
One of Harmsen’s biggest pitches came in the third inning when Post 131 loaded the bases with two outs.
Parrot worked the count to 3-0, and Harmsen came back to retire the cleanup hitter on a called third strike.
“When it’s 3-0 and the bases are loaded you know you can’t throw another ball,” quipped Harmsen. “I knew I had to get the out, and after I got a strike to make the count 3-1, I felt confident that I was going to get him out.”
A two-out error and hit batter made for a dramatic bottom of the seventh inning, but Lynn coaxed Parrot to pop out to Aaron Jones in center field for the final out of the game.