STE. GENEVIEVE – A battle for the Senior Legion District 13 championship hinged on which depleted pitching staff would flinch first Saturday night.
Ste. Genevieve Post 150 was able to force a second game to be played for the championship after winning the evening’s first contest, 7-4, between the two teams.
After each team suffered a costly defensive hiccup, Farmington Post 416 delivered the final offensive outburst to complete an unlikely title run as the fifth and lowest seed in the bracket.
Seven runs scored as 11 batters stepped to the plate in the seventh inning, and Post 416 used a gutsy start from right-hander Brett Mann to defeat Ste. Genevieve 12-4 in a winner-take-all final.
Farmington (13-10) secured the first district crown for a program dating back about 40 years, and were offensively paced by two brothers who bookended the lineup card.
Leadoff batter Logan Winder finished 4-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI, and Brandon Winder had three singles from the No. 9 spot. Brandt Busenbark also doubled twice while going 3-for-4 overall.
Bryant Vessell went 2-for-4 with two doubles and Wyatt Lalumondier singled twice for Ste. Genevieve (15-7), which won earlier in the day to force a second championship game.
Post 150 played four contests in two days as the top seed after falling to Farmington on Wednesday, and eliminated multiple-time defending champion Festus Post 253 along the way.
But Ste. Genevieve was handled once again by Mann, who returned on two days of rest after previously throwing 131 pitches. He lasted six innings and allowed four hits while striking out six on 92 pitches.
Logan Winder recorded seven strikeouts in three scoreless innings of relief for the save. He entered with a slim 5-4 lead, and Farmington asserted its control against reliever Chet Meyer in the seventh.
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A Busenbark hit was followed by a walk to Hayden Helvey and bunt single by Brayden Krause before an inside offering struck Garrett Thomure with the bases loaded.
Ryan Propst and Brandon Winder increased the lead to 8-4, and Logan Winder landed a 2-RBI double into left-center. Busenbark double in two more to cap the decisive frame.
Both teams were already assured of reaching next week’s zone tournament at Wilson-Rozier Park, but a district championship was something that head coaches Scott Winder of Post 416 and Junie Basler Post 150 had yet to attain at the Senior Legion level.
Andy Grieshaber did his part for Post 150 to match Mann through the first four innings on the mound, and should have coasted through a perfect fifth.
Ste. Genevieve turned a double play in the first inning and threw out two more Farmington runners at third base before errors led to five unearned runs.
Krause singled with two outs for a 5-0 Post 416 edge, and Mann quickly retired the first two batters in the ensuing Post 150 sixth.
Two errors by Farmington likewise created trouble, and the inning continued after Logan Winder ranged up the middle and saw his accurate spinning throw dropped at first base.
Vessell ripped a 2-run double to make it 5-2, and Cole Wood dunked an RBI single into shallow right to pull Ste. Genevieve within one.
Daniel Bergtholdt and Andrew Basler added singles for Post 150. Tyler Uding pitched a scoreless ninth inning.