FESTUS, Mo. – Potosi Post 265 could not keep pace with first-place Festus Post 253 in two opportunities to shake up the Senior Legion District 13 standings on Thursday.
Levi Ebersoldt homered twice during a 7-0 triumph in game one of a doubleheader, and Festus scored seven runs in the third inning of game two to prevail 15-5.
Post 253 was forced to relinquish its ace earlier in the week when Hillsboro graduate Michael Brewer signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers organization.
Jordan Duncan stepped forward in game one and twirled a shutout, scattering six hits and three walks while striking out five. He retired the leadoff batter in each of the first six innings.
Post 265 pitcher Dakota Dowd matched zeros until Festus broke through with three runs in the fourth. A one-out walk to catcher and No. 9 batter Isack Hamilton started the rally.
Courtesy runner Tommy Moon scored on a single by Jacob Bridges after stealing second base. Ebersoldt followed with a towering two-run blast that carried well beyond the left-field wall.
Potosi had two runners aboard in the second and third innings, but a crucial strikeout of Noah Jacobsen began a stretch where Duncan retired nine of 10 batters.
Jacobsen blistered a ground ball in his next plate appearance, but a stellar diving stop by third baseman Charlie Pratt and strong throw from the line obtained the first out of the sixth.
Ebersoldt connected for a second time off Dowd in the bottom of the fifth, and ensuing singles by Jake Leitner and Eddie Martin prompted a pitching change.
Leitner was called safe on a sacrifice fly to left from Pratt despite a perfect throw by Dowd that did not bounce and and reached catcher Cody Ruble in plenty of time for the tag. The call drew a mild argument.
Colby Ott added an RBI double moments later to make it 6-0, and two defensive errors behind reliever Peyton Nipper tacked on an unearned Festus tally in the sixth.
Zach Francis went 2-for-4 from the Post 265 leadoff spot while Ryker Walton, Dowd and Nipper chipped in singles. A double play erased an infield hit by Wyatt Jessen in the seventh.
Potosi grabbed an early lead in game two as the official home team, but the Post 253 infield turned four double plays within the first four innings while seizing control.
Shortstop Christian Hancock, Duncan and Pratt each finished 2-for-4, and Leitner singled twice as Festus received at least one hit from each spot In the order.
Jeremy Isenman allowed five runs on seven hits through five frames for the win, but induced a number of timely ground balls. Hancock turned two with the bases loaded in a scoreless bottom of the fourth.
Post 265 also had moments of defensive excellence from its corner infielders. Walton stopped two hard grounders from his knees in the second, and Ty Simly ranged far behind first base to reel in two difficult chances over his shoulder.
Potosi jumped ahead 2-1 in the first inning when Simily singled home Francis and Jacobsen crossed the plate on an errant throw after Walton put the ball in play.
Francis alleviated the damage from back-to-back doubles by Bridges and Duncan, and breezed through the second inning with only six pitches.
But Festus (18-6, 8-1) changed the outcome with a sudden seven-run outburst in the third as two walks preceded six straight two-out hits and chased the opposing right-hander.
Martin made it 4-2 with a two-run double following a tying single by Leitner. Pratt, Ott and Hancock kept the carousel moving before Hamilton tripled on a wacky hop past the center field for an 8-2 spread.
Post 253 added four runs against Walton in the fourth, capitalizing on two Potosi errors, and threatened to conclude the contest early with a 10-run advantage.
Simily retired his first five batters in relief of Walton, and extended the action by notching two more RBI on a double to right before Wyatt Jessen singled him home in the fifth.
Francis provided two singles while Troy Gildehaus and Jacobsen each singled and walked for Post 265.
Duncan capped the scoring with an RBI single during a three-run seventh for Festus. Jacobsen left the game with a swollen hand when a scorching single by Hancock knocked his glove off.
Potosi, now 7-4 in district play, will likely host a first-round game on Monday before the remainder of the bracket shifts to Yanks Field in Ste. Genevieve on Tuesday.
Festus maintained a 1/2-game lead over Ste. Genevieve in pursuit of the No. 1 district seed by sweeping two games against Farmington on Friday. Post 253 still has a suspended game with De Soto to complete.