Good teams often respond with their best effort after playing a bad game.
Pittsburg Post 64, fresh off a 14-1 run-rule loss Saturday to Mac-N-Seitz, came back Sunday night with a 9-1 run-rule win over the Midwest Black Sox in the final game of the three-day Pittsburg Legion/FSCC Classic at historic JayCee Ballpark.
Luke Marquardt pitched four shutout innings and worked his way out of a couple sticky situations with the help of some good defense, five different Post 64 batters reached on hit-by-pitch and spread out nine runs over three run-scoring innings. The win gave Post 64 a 3-2 in the weekend showcase.
“3-2 against good competition,” Post 64 head coach Mike Watt said. “Really, we let one game get away from us but other than that, I thought we competed very well all weekend.
“I think that’s a sign of our maturity. We have a bunch of seniors-to-be and graduated seniors. Overall, we’re a mature team. The kids realize everybody has a bad day and that’s a good thing about baseball. You get to play another game . . . again, I think it was maturity and I thought they came out with a good attitude today.”
With two down in the top of the first and the bases loaded, shortstop Matt Standlee delivered a two-run single plating Bryce Burdette and Christian Cedeno. Post 64 was able to jump ahead 2-0 and in a crucial turn of events in the bottom half of the first, Marquardt retired Brett Ferencz with a three-pitch strikeout and Colin Linder with a 4-3 popout, leaving the bases loaded for the Black Sox.
Marquardt led off the second with a walk and Nick George singled home Marquardt after No. 20 stole second. The Black Sox turned a double play but consecutive hit batters placed two runners back on for Cedeno.
Cedeno found a Hunter Post offering much to his delight and No. 22 rocked one into the left-center gap. Grimaldi and Burdette, two of the fastest runners on Post 64, scored with no doubt with two outs and Cedeno stopped at second with a two-run double and 5-0 Post 64 lead.
“Speed is one of our strengths and we were able to get on base and run a little bit and put pressure on them,” Watt said. “That’s our game. If we can do that, we’re pretty good.”
Post 64 added four more runs in the fourth, highlighted by RBI singles from Bryan Wade and Burdette, plus a RBI sacrifice fly from Brett Macary.
Marquardt, who earned a save in the 3-2 win over Arkansas Express in the first game Saturday, especially bounced right back Sunday after playing a rough game against Mac-N-Seitz. No. 20 walked twice, scored two runs, stole a base and pitched four shutout innings.
Page 2 of 2 - “I thought Luke Marquardt,” Watt said, “you know, he broke his arm this spring and didn’t get to throw much. I’m really happy for him that’s he’s out here and he’s getting the opportunity to throw. He’s got really good stuff. He’s got a great two-seam fastball and he could be really good. This is a good opportunity for him this summer to keep working on it and getting better.”
Double plays worked in Post 64’s favor Saturday against Arkansas Express and sure enough, a double play helped Post 64 close out the Black Sox.
With the bases loaded and no outs, third baseman Macary charged on a chopper, fielded cleanly, threw onto second baseman Nate George and he fired on to first baseman Cody Grilz for the 5-4-3 DP. The Black Sox managed its first run but had two outs.
“We’ve only been together for 10 days but these guys get along well,” Watt said. “They work together well and it shows up on the field. They have great chemistry in the dugout. They work together. They trust each other and that’s part of being a good team.”
Post 64 (4-3) plays next Friday-Sunday in another weekend showcase at JayCee — the Mount Vernon 39ers (9 a.m.) and Kansas Crush Elite (11:15 a.m.) on Friday, the Andover Trojans (8:15 p.m.) on Saturday and the Neosho Wildcats (9 a.m.) on Sunday.
Pittsburg Legion/FSCC Classic
at JayCee Ballpark
Pittsburg Post 64 9, Midwest Black Sox 1 (5 innings)
P64 230 40 — 9 6 0
MBS 000 01 — 1 7 0
Luke Marquardt, Ryan Cedeno (5) and Bryan Wade. Hunter Post, Jesse Hutmacher (4) and Andrew Dieckmann. WP: Marquardt. LP: Post. 2B: Christian Cedeno. SF: Brett Macary. SB: Bryce Burdette, C. Cedeno, Marquardt, Nate Grimaldi; Alec Ober. HBP: Grimaldi, Burdette, Nick George, Cody Grilz, Blake Vail. LOB: P64 6, MBS 8.