BONNE TERRE — A remarkable catch by left fielder Doug Warren helped the Farmington Hurricanes maintain early momentum on Tuesday night, and the offensive frustration for Festus Post 253 only increased from there.
Right-hander Alex Pinkston consistently threw strikes and benefited from sharp defense throughout a convincing 3-0 victory, as Farmington captured its first Junior American Legion district VIII championship.
Pinkston retired his final eight batters while lasting the distance in an efficient two-hitter, but his shutout bid nearly evaporated following two miscues in the opening inning.
Nick Portell smashed a long drive that appeared destined to reach the left-field fence, but Warren somehow tracked it down with his back to home plate, then fired back to second base to double off runner Mitch Lovelace.
Festus later collected singles from Portell and Cameron Stubbs, plus one walk that ultimately proved harmless, as Pinkston faced just four batters above the minimum.
Shortstop Nathan Wulfert recorded seven a team-high assists, including several tough chances from the hole, and his first-inning single helped Farmington take a 1-0 lead when Pinkston scored on a throwing error.
Philip Kreitler delivered a key RBI single with two outs in the fourth, and finished 2-for-3 overall to lead the Hurricanes (29-9), who will compete in zone playoff action beginning on Thursday.
Top-seeded Festus avoided elimination with four straight wins to reach the finals after dropping its tournament opener, but simply lost steam on Tuesday despite getting six solid innings from losing hurler Gary Doyle.
Wulfert scored on a wild pitch after the first three batters reached safely in the Farmington seventh, and Pinkston responded favorably to the insurance by striking out the side during the home half.
A bases-loaded threat ended with a double play in the sixth after a hard ground ball deflected off Doyle and both Festus middle infielders.
Logan Bradley, Conner Davault and Warren added singles for the Hurricanes.