Pittsburg Post 64 played late into Father’s Day, closing out the Pittsburg Legion/Fort Scott CC Classic at JayCee Ballpark with a Sunday night doubleheader against the Mount Vernon 39ers and the KC Yankees.
Post 64 played like two different teams, losing 8-1 to Mount Vernon and winning 10-3 against the KC Yankees for the split.
“The first game, we were just really flat and had no energy,” Post 64 head coach Mike Watt said. “We had no energy at all and it showed up in the game. We weren’t mentally ready to play. We weren’t very good in that first game.
“We’ve talked to them a lot about it’s easy to have energy when things are going well. You’ve got to have the energy even when things aren’t going well and that’s how you fight through those tough periods. We’re a very talented team. We’re a veteran team. We just have got to work on our energy level. If we go into Omaha with not much energy, it’s going to be tough to win. We’re going to have to be focused and ready to go.”
In the opener, Post 64 matched Mount Vernon after one (1-all) but the 39ers controlled the game with seven unanswered runs, three in the second, two in the fourth and two in the fifth.
In that pivotal three-run inning, the 39ers scored all their runs on no hits and two errors. Post 64 had difficulty fielding any bunt or groundball and difficulty throwing out any Mount Vernon runners.
The Mount Vernon bats came around in the fourth and the fifth, plating its four runs on six of its seven hits for the game. Austin Welby led off the fifth with a triple, Kyler Shoff hit a RBI double, and Logan Rycraft and Bobby Johnson RBI singles. Rycraft drove in a pair of runs for the 39ers.
The second game began like the first as the KC Yankees plated three first-inning runs on what turned out to be their only hit of the game. Post 64 starter Blake Vail struggled with his control, hitting one batter and walking three consecutive batters, all while striking out three. Vail settled down after that topsy-turvy first and finished the contest with four strikeouts.
Vail and Nick George combined on the one-hitter.
Courtesy runner Bryan Wade scored the first Post 64 run, taking advantage of an errant throw from the catcher back to the pitcher on the infield.
The 9-1-2 hitters in the Post 64 lineup took over in the third, sparking a three-run rally. Bryce Burdette led off with a walk. Nate Grimaldi placed a perfect bunt and legged out a bunt single, moving Burdette over to third after Burdette stole second. Grimaldi and Burdette came around on a Colton Gilbert single and then Gilbert stole second and scored on a two-base throwing error.
Page 2 of 4 - Post 64 closed it out with six runs in the fourth before time expired, collecting four hits and four hit batters. Don Baylor and Craig Biggio would have been proud as Burdette, Christian Cedeno, Brett Macary and George all took one for the team in the frame.
Post 64 heads into the Decker Sports CWS Tournament on Wednesday with a 6-4-1 record and finished showcase play 2-1-1.
Pittsburg Legion/Fort Scott CC Classic
at JayCee Ballpark
Mount Vernon 39ers 8, Pittsburg Post 64 1
39ers 130 220 — 8 7 1
P64 100 000 — 1 5 3
Auston Weldy. Luke Marquardt, Brett Macary (5) and Bryan Wade. WP: Weldy. LP: Marquardt. E: Logan Rycraft; Christian Cedeno 2, Wade. 3B: Weldy. 2B: Kyler Shoff. SH: Shoff, Connor Osterloh, Bobby Johnson, J.L. Forester; Cedeno. SB: Dillion Hill, 12; Grimaldi, Wade, Marquardt. CS: Weldy, Shoff; Cedeno. LOB: 39ers 6, P64 5.
Pittsburg Post 64 10, KC Yankees 3
KCY 300 0 — 3 1 4
P64 013 6 — 10 6 0
Chris Sokoloff, Bryan Crowe (4), Damian Vela (4) and Vela. Blake Vail, Nick George (4) and Ryan Cedeno. WP: George. LP: Sokoloff. 2B: Cody Grilz. SB: Austin Dvorak, Noah Weaver, Mike Adden, Quin Denham; Grimaldi 2, Colton Gilbert, George, Matt Standlee, Bryce Burdette, Vail. HBP: Aldon; Grimaldi, Christian Cedeno, Brett Macary, Burdette, Nick George. LOB: KCY 2, P64 5.
Pittsburg Post 64 will be leaving Tuesday night before play begins in the Decker Sports CWS Tournament in Omaha, Neb.
“It’s a great trip and these tournaments here (at JayCee Ballpark) are great,” Watt said. “I don’t know how many this week but last week, there were 12 different colleges here from juco to the Division I level watching these kids play. It’s a great opportunity for them to get exposure and the same thing when we go to Omaha. There’s college coaches at every game, Division I coaches on down to the juco level. The whole town’s full of college coaches.”
The tournament guarantees at least five games Wednesday-Saturday.
Post 64 plays in the pool hosted by Omaha Westside HS and featuring St. Mary’s HS (Colorado Springs), the Keybirds (Williston, N.D.), the Riverbandits (Napoleon, Ohio) and Putnam City North HS (Oklahoma City).
With teams from talent-producing baseball cities Omaha and Oklahoma City, for example, Post 64 expects competition which will help sharpen their collective and individual skills for the postseason later this summer. The veteran Post 64 coaching staff of Watt, Gary Grimaldi and Pat Cedeno focus on energy and effort, and those E-words will definitely be key in Omaha.
“That’s what I told the kids,” Watt said. “We’re going to have to show up, be focused and it’s the same story over and over, you can’t take that pitch off. You’ve got to compete, compete, compete.”
Opening rounds of the College World Series began on Saturday and play runs through late June (last possible date June 26).
Page 3 of 4 - “We’re going to go to a couple World Series games and get to see some big-time baseball,” Watt said. “It’s going to be fun. I haven’t been to the new stadium (TD Ameritrade Park) so it will be my first time. The kids are looking forward to it.”
Post 64 opens play Wednesday against host Omaha Westside (2 p.m.), plays back-to-back contests Thursday against Putnam City North (noon) and the Riverbandits (2:30 p.m.), the late game Friday against the Keybirds (7:30 p.m.) and closes out pool play Saturday with St. Mary’s HS at noon.
Westside is a high school featuring over 2,000 students in the heart of Omaha and Putnam City is a similarly sized school in Oklahoma City (12th largest high school in Oklahoma).
Napoleon, located in northwest Ohio and the county seat of Henry County, features a population of 8,749 and the motto “Heartland Values, Flowing Opportunities.”
Williston, a city of 18,532 (eighth-largest city in North Dakota) located in northwest North Dakota, locates itself near the meeting of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers, as well as U.S. Highways 2 and 85. Former NBA player and head coach Phil Jackson graduated from Williston HS.
St. Mary’s, enrollment 356, is a private, Roman Catholic high school located in the Roman Catholic diocese of Colorado Springs (pop. 416,427 — second-most populous city in Colorado and 41st in the nation). The Pirates use the multi-million dollar Grace Center for Athletics and Community Service.
TD Ameritrade Park, home stadium of the College World Series, seats approximately 24,000 and features 36 inches for leg room between rows and four elevators.
2013 Decker Sports CWS Tournament
June 19-23 (first team listed in pool = host team)
Omaha Westside HS, Pittsburg Post 64, St. Mary’s HS (Colorado Springs), the Keybirds (Williston, N.D.), the Riverbandits (Napoleon, Ohio), Putnam City North HS (Oklahoma City).
Millard West HS (Omaha), Post 131 (Valley Springs, S.D.), the Royals (Grand Forks, N.D.), Ponderosa HS (Denver), OK Ambassadors (Oklahoma City), the Ricemen (Jonesboro, Ark).
Elkorn South HS (Omaha), Post 15 East (Sioux Falls, S.D.), the Mullen Mustangs (Denver), OK Outlaws (Midwest City, Okla.), Post 87 (Alexandria, Minn.), M.H. Lockerroom (Mt. Home, Ark).
Millard South HS (Omaha), Roncalli HS (Omaha), the Colorado Travelers (Englewood), North HS (Edmond, Okla.), the Roughriders (Gillette, Wyo.), Post 2 (Fargo, N.D).
Creighton Prep HS (Omaha), Cyclones No. 2 (Sioux Falls, S.D.), the Travelers (Woodward, Okla.), Hit Streak (Denver), Tri City Red (New Brighton, Minn.), Vistas (Minot, N.D).
Elkhorn HS (Omaha), Wisconsin All-Stars (Milwaukee), McClendons Appliances (Benton, Ark.), Bulldogs (Edmond, Okla.), Grandview Wolves (Aurora, Colo.), Governors (Bismarck, N.D).
Millard North HS (Omaha), Post 15 West (Sioux Falls, S.D.), the Midwest Bruins (Topeka), Dakota Ridge HS (Littleton, Colo.), Piedmont HS (Piedmont, Okla).
Page 4 of 4 - POOL 8
Gross Catholic HS (Omaha), Bulldogs (Cache, Okla.), Nixa Merchants (Nixa, Mo.), Cyclones No. 1 (Sioux Falls, S.D.), Papio South (Omaha).
• Population: 408,958 (42nd largest U.S. city)
• Douglas County seat
• Famous people born in Omaha: Fred Astaire, Wade Boggs, Marlon Brando, Warren Buffett, Montgomery Clift, Gerald Ford, Bob Gibson, Dorothy McGuire, Buddy Miles, Nick Nolte and Malcolm X. Additionally, Henry Fonda and his son Peter began their acting careers in the Omaha Community Playhouse.
• Notable places to see: Henry Doorly Zoo, The Durham Museum, Omaha’s Children Museum, Mormon Trail Center, Lauritzen Gardens, Joslyn Art Museum, Boys Town, El Museo Latino, Strategic Air & Space Museum, Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, First National’s Spirit of Nebraska’s Wilderness and Pioneer Courage Park, Gerald R. Ford Birthsite & Gardens, Heartland of America Park & Fountain, Malcolm X Birthsite, Lucky Bucket Brewery, Joslyn Castle, Kenefick Park, Lauritzen Gardens, Lewis and Clark Landing, River City Star Riverboat.