The Jefferson City American Legion Post 5 Seniors baseball team is stacked.
Featuring a lineup that draws the best players from several area schools, Post 5 rapped out 16 hits en route to a 12-5 victory over Fulton in nine innings on Tuesday night at the American Legion Sports Complex.
"There's a bunch of talent," first-year Seniors head coach Dane Hughes said. "The senior class in mid-Missouri was extremely strong this year. So being able to pull guys from all the schools around the area, it's really exciting to get them all together on one field.
"It's really fun to watch when you can plug guys in up and down the lineup. All of them were three-hole hitters on their team in high school."
While that may not exactly be true, considering multiple players from Jefferson City, Helias, Fatima and Blair Oaks received at-bats Tuesday night, there's no doubt about the lineup's hitting prowess. Of Post 5's 16 hits, 10 of them went for extra bases.
"It's one thing to swing it and put up 16 hits, it's another thing to be driving the ball," said Hughes, an assistant coach at Westminster College. "As a guy who appreciates hitting, driving the ball to right-center, that's something we're really looking for. It's really impressive. Spraying the ball around the field is really nice to see."
Post 5 jumped on Fulton early with four runs in the bottom of the first.
Cole Distler plated Dylan Brauner with an RBI double, Connor Hager followed with a run-scoring triple to right-center, Patrick Schnieders added an RBI double to deep center and Seth Lehmen made it 4-0 with a base hit up the middle.
"It's good to jump on them early," Hughes said. "We kept swinging it throughout."
Schnieders made it 5-0 in the bottom of the third with a run-scoring double to right.
Fulton plated two runs in the top of the fifth after loading the bases on two walks and a hit batter. Two groundouts plated runs.
Jacob Koelling, Post 5's starting pitcher and eventual winner, left after five innings with a no-hitter in progress. He allowed the two runs on five walks and the hit batter to go along with eight strikeouts, which all came in the first three innings.
"On the mound, way too many walks," Hughes said. "I think we ended up with eight, and we had 12 strikeouts. That's not the ratio we're really looking for. The positive was we were able to get out of some things with some strikeouts. Definitely something to clean up with those walks, but overall a good job."
Pitching the final four innings of relief were Nolan Bax (one) and Trevor Schnieders (three).
Post 5 added three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Trevor Schnieders blooped a single to center to bring home Hager, who led off the frame with a triple. Bax later doubled to left to plate two runs.
Fulton cut the deficit to 8-5 by scoring a trio of runs in the top of the sixth. Post 5 responded yet again with three runs of their own in the bottom of the frame.
One run scored on an error, another on a wild pitch and the third came home on an RBI double from Patrick Schnieders.
Post 5 capped the scoring in the bottom of the seventh by scoring a run on base hits by Corey Beard and Trevor Schnieders, followed by a wild pitch to bring Beard home.
Hager, Patrick Schnieders and Trevor Schnieders each had three hits, while Brauner and Lehmen added two apiece.
Post 5 (3-0) travels to Cole Camp to take on Willard tonight to continue a busy week.
"We have a big week coming up," Hughes said. "We're playing in the Columbia Prospect Tournament. We're getting some top-prospect teams from around the Midwest. We're going to be playing some good teams prospect-wise to get us ready for the end of the year."
Note: In addition to the schools listed earlier, Russellville and North Callaway are also represented on the Post 5 squad.