MOBERLY — The game went as Columbia Post 202 wanted Thursday.
Post 202 defeated Chillicothe Post 25, winning 9-1 in the first game of the American Legion Baseball Zone I Tournament at Moberly High.
Post 202 (25-9) opened the scoring in the bottom of the second and contained Post 25’s offense, keeping the lead throughout.
Post 202 starter Nichols Christopher earned the win, giving up four hits in seven innings.
“(Post 25) made some nice plays out there and kept us from (scoring more),” Post 202 coach Jim Dapkus said. “But we tried to hit good pitches as early as we can, and we did a pretty good job offensively at the plate.”
Post 202 plays 5:30 tonight against St. Charles 312 in the double-elimination tournament.
Post 202 scored three runs in the bottom of the second, capitalizing on mistakes. With one out, Ryan Concannon got on with a bunt single down the third-base line. Joseph Montgomery followed with a single off starter Kaleb Gilliland.
Gilliland balked, moving Concannon to third and Montgomery to second. Eric Schultz singled to drive in Concannon, and Montgomery scored on Gilliland’s wild pitch to make it 2-0. Schultz scored on Jonathan Tallamage’s sacrifice fly to left for a 3-0 lead.
Trailing 3-1 with two out in the seventh, Post 25’s Brett Grozinger advanced to first after being hit by a pitch. Brett Keith followed with a single, and Scott Lowe hit a line drive, which hit Christopher, to load the bases. Christopher struck out Cory Hanavan on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
“That was a pretty clutch right there,” Christopher said. “I didn’t want the guy to walk or get a hit or anything like.
“I just kind of got a lucky pitch and he swung on it.”
Dapkus said Christopher’s pitching kept the team under control.
“Chris did a really good job and he threw a lot strikes, got a lot guys out early in a count,” Dapkus said. “It’s really Chris’ game.”
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Post 202 scored six runs.
Schultz walked to lead off, and Post 202 produced two consecutive bunt singles to load the bases. Schultz scored to extend the lead to 4-1 after Johnny Kruse hit a fly to right field, and Andrew Campbell’s throw to home went wide.
Kyle Smith walked to load the bases again, and Jacob Kemper’s single drove in two more runs.
Jacob Hicks relieved Gilliland but couldn’t stop Post 202’s offense. Scott Dunwoody hit an RBI single for a 5-1 lead.
Joseph Montgomery later doubled to drive in Kemper and Concannon for the final score.
Montgomery went 2-for-4 with a two RBIs, and Eric Schultz went 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs.
In the fifth, Hicks led off with a triple to deep center field and scored on Scott Lowe’s sacrifice bunt.