Two days ago, the Ballwin Post 611 team had high hopes and designs on a run to the Missouri senior legion state tournament next weekend in Sedalia.
Jackson Post 158 had other plans and Jackson kept its zone championship hopes alive at the expense of Ballwin.
Post 158 overcame an early deficit and eliminated Ballwin with an 8-4 victory in the losers bracket semifinal Saturday evening at West City Park in Festus.
“I think we went 8-2 against all of the teams that were playing in the zone tournament this weekend and we lost two games the entire summer and we picked a bad time to lose those two,” Ballwin coach Sean Rogan said. ‘They got the hits when they needed to and played well.”
One of the factors that left Ballwin on the short end of the scoreboard was an untimely lack of clutch hitting against Jackson which was a surprising role reversal just two days after Post 611 won 15-9 over Post 158 in the tournament opener.
Ballwin (31-7) had 12 hits on evening but failed time and again to get clutch hits with runners in scoring position.
“There was only one inning in the whole game where we didn’t get men on base and that was the ninth,” Rogan said. “We had bases loaded a couple of times and virtually every time we had somebody come up with a big hit but it just didn’t happen tonight.”
Ballwin got on the board first with a run in the for inning for a 1-0 lead.
Jackson (37-8) came right back in the bottom of the first with three runs.
Then Jackson struck for three runs in the fifth for a 6-1 lead and picked up two more in the seventh.
“They (Jackson) really jumped ahead on us in the middle innings,” Rogan said. “They got the hits and then we gave them a few runs with some errors and didn’t help ourselves.”
Brad Molski started on the hill for Ballwin and had to be relieved after reaching the 100 pitch limit in the fourth inning. Molski gave way to Ben Mitchell who threw three innings of relief and gave up five runs. Dylan Bragg finished out the action in relief.
EJ Myers and Ben Mitchell provided led the charge at the plate with three hits and a pair doubles each.
Ballwin got a run in the fifth and picked up two more runs in the seventh to cut the gap to 8-4 but Post 611 could not string together another riveting comeback to keep its amazing season going.
“It’s disappointing that it ended like this with us having a couple of bad games now but I can’t help but be really happy with what these guys accomplished this summer,” Rogan said.
Ballwin was the first District 10 team in more than 10 years to win the district championship with an undefeated record as Post 611 went a perfect 14-0 this summer.
“No team in District 10 has gone undefeated during the season in 10-15 years and we feel good about that, ” Rogan said. “These guys accomplished a lot this year and this is a special group that will be remembered for a long time to come.”
NOTES: Festus edged Jackson 6-4 on Saturday night to claim the Zone 4 championship. Festus moves on to the state tournament next weekend in Sedalia.