FARMINGTON – Nathan Hamski pitched a complete game, and the Mineral Area Senior Legion Post 416 baseball team scored 10 unanswered runs to defeat Festus Post 253 for the second time in a week on Tuesday evening.
Kooper Kekec finished 3-for-4 from the leadoff spot, and Grant Mullins hit a bases-clearing double in the sixth inning to punctuate a 12-2 victory.
Post 416 (3-0) received nine walks and capitalized on five defensive errors by Post 253 (0-5) heading into an early district showdown with Ste. Genevieve Post 150 on Friday.
Kekec tried a successful hidden ball trick at second base to erase a double by Sam Stokes during the top of the sixth inning, and Mineral Area extended a 7-2 lead with a five-run push.
Casen Murphy, who earlier walked twice, tripled home Kendall Horton after Kekec plugged the gap in left-center field for a double and crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
Reliever Lane Axtetter issued two walks to load the bases, and Mullins capped his 2-for-3 performance with three-run double against Andrew Chaves that was unseen in the outfield sky.
Hamski struggled through his second inning after several bounced deliveries resulted in four walks, but was mostly efficient and effective the rest of the way.
The Central graduate picked up five strikeouts and allowed only two hits. A disputed call at home plate perhaps cost him a run in the second inning.
Murphy fired an excellent throw from center toward catcher Clayton Chandler, but diving Festus runner Jaxin Patterson was ruled to have avoided the tag. Nate Moore was credited with the tying sacrifice fly at 2-2.
Festus endured its own justifiable grievance in the third when Axtetter, who earlier scored on a wild pitch, was called out on a pitch near his ankles.
Hamski retired eight straight batters at one juncture, including three blistered line drives in the fourth that found the gloves of third baseman Zak Meador and outfielders Murphy and Mullins.
Mineral Area had already regained the lead by then. Kekec came home when a long drive to center by Clayton Redmond was casually dropped near the warning track in the third inning.
Festus turned a double play behind starter Nate Pruneau in the fourth. But Post 253 was boosted as a shallow two-out single by Meador was misplayed, allowing Mullins to score all the way from first base.
Another two-out rally helped put the contest farther out of reach in the fifth. Jackson Dement grounded a single that caromed off third base after Redmond was hit by a pitch.
Chandler ended the outing for Pruneau with a two-run double over the right fielder, then stole third base before scoring to increase a 6-2 margin.
Kekec immediately atoned for an error that enabled Chase Wilson to reach safely in the fifth by turning a double play along with Redmond at shortstop.
Redmond had an RBI ground out, and a second run scored on a throwing error as Post 416 grabbed a quick 2-0 lead. Kekec singled ahead of walks to Horton and Murphy.
Patterson singled and was on base twice for Post 253.
Ste. Genevieve 4, De Soto 2
DE SOTO, Mo. – Grant Fallert pitched six quality innings, allowing just one run, and Ste. Genevieve Post 150 remained rolling with a 4-2 district victory over De Soto SMCI on Tuesday.
Slade Schweiss homered while driving in all four runs to pace Ste. Genevieve (5-1), which opened the season by winning the Between the Lines Exposure Series Tournament last weekend.
Zach Boyer added two hits with two runs scored, and Rylan Fallert pitched the seventh for the save.
Post 150 continues a busy stretch this week with games against Rock Memorial, the Mineral Area Orioles from Senior Babe Ruth League, and district rival Mineral Area Post 416.