Post 41 wins state opener
Headed into the Kansas AAA Legion baseball tournament in Pittsburg on Wednesday, Tonganoxie Post 41 felt like Atchison — a team that beat Tonganoxie twice in the past week — hadn’t seen its best effort.
The A’s saw what Tonganoxie was capable of at JayCee Park in the first round as Post 41 scored twice in the bottom of the ninth to pull off a 4-3 victory.
Down 3-2 in the final frame, Grant Ebbert knocked in the game-winning run with a single to right field.
The ninth-inning rally began when Corey Klinkenburg slapped a singe to right. Blaize Oelschlaeger doubled to score Klinkenburg and was in scoring position for Ebbert.
“It was a big celebration after the game. Grant just does what he does,” Tonganoxie coach Pat Bailey said. “He hit that one pretty well.”
It was a big day for Ebbert, Post 41’s clean-up hitter, who also drove in a run in the fifth, giving him two of his team’s four RBI.
Post 41 lost twice to Atchison this past week at a state-qualifying zone tournament in Leavenworth. Bailey said his team just executed better this time around.
“Our pitching was good,” Bailey said. “Blaize (Oelschlaeger) wasn’t at his best, probably, but when they hit the ball, we were playing defense — that sure helps.”
Oelschlaeger started on the hill and went eight and a third innings for Post 41, striking out just one batter as the defense behind him was the catalyst.
Mark Stewart relieved Oelschlaeger in the ninth and kept Atchison scoreless to get the victory.
Down 3-1 in the bottom of the eighth, Tonganoxie chipped away at the Atchison lead. Jacob Stauch reached on a fielder’s choice and was later driven in by Kyle Newton.
Tonganoxie took a 1-0 lead in the fifth after Brett Bailes bunted and advanced to second on an error. A single from Ebbert plated Bailes.
Now that Post 41 is on the winner’s side of the bracket, Bailey said the team will keep fighting.
“We’re here, we might as well see what we can do,” Bailey said. “We got the first one out of the way and we’ll go from there.”
On Thursday, Tonganoxie will play at 5 p.m. against the winner of a first-round game between Hays and Lawrence.