It has been a busy start this summer for the Jefferson City Post 5 Juniors. Now they're finally going to get some rest.
The Post 5 Juniors split a doubleheader Wednesday against the Central Missouri Phenom, winning the first game 9-3 before dropping the second contest 5-2 at the American Legion Post 5 Sports Complex.
The doubleheader wasn't initially on the schedule, but it gave Jefferson City a chance to face a local team and split up what would have been an eight-day layoff.
"Coming off a tough loss on Sunday, we wanted to come back and get on the field as quick as possible," Post 5 coach Joe Bernskoetter said. "We wanted to get as many games in before we get to the (second half) of the season."
The Phenom led 3-0 after one inning in the opener. The score would stay that way until the bottom of the fourth, when Jefferson City finally got the bats going.
Alex Grellner's RBI triple to right-center field scored Parker Bax for the first run. Drew Voss added an RBI single later in the inning and then scored on an error to give Post 5 a 4-3 lead.
"It's been that way the last couple of weeks," Bernskoetter said. "As soon as we can find one little spark, it ignites the boys and they go."
Grellner came up big again in the fifth, hitting an RBI double off the left-field fence. He finished 3-for-4 at the plate, starting with a single in the second.
"When he's at the plate, I've got a lot of confidence in him," Bernskoetter said. "He's really hit the ball well and he's about snuck a couple out."
Aside from a rough first inning, Post 5 pitcher Cade Stockman was in cruise control. He held the Phenom to two hits in the second through sixth innings, getting around five walks and finishing with three strikeouts to earn the win.
"He's got a lot of good mound presence," Bernskoetter said. "He's always coming at you and he throws a heavy ball. He did have football camp today, so he had a little bit of tired legs, but he battled through and figured out how to pitch with it."
Bax pitched a scoreless seventh, striking out one to finish the game.
Jefferson City scored three times in the fifth and added two more runs in the seventh to build a six-run lead.
Bax went 2-for-3 with a single and a double.
Post 5 appeared to pick up where it had left off to start Game 2. Back-to-back singles and an error to open the game gave Jefferson City a 1-0 lead.
Much like Stockman had in the previous game, however, the Phenom's Colten Robinson settled down after that first inning and held Post 5 off the board for the next four innings.
Jefferson City has been aggressive on the basepaths all season, but a crucial out at third base to end the top of the second slowed its momentum. Phenom catcher Austin McKim also threw out a pair of runners attempting to steal second base.
"We were a little uncertain on the basepaths," Bernskoetter said. " Tonight, we just couldn't figure the pitchers out, we couldn't figure the rhythm out.
"McKim, he's a good catcher, and we knew he was going to give us a little test tonight."
Post 5 fell behind 5-1 after four innings and was only able to answer with an RBI groundout in the sixth inning.
Jackson Voss pitched the first four innings for Post 5, allowing five runs on six hits with two walks and one strikeouts. Drew Voss struck out two batters in the fifth and Wyatt Luebbert struck out the side in the sixth.
The Post 5 Juniors (11-4) play a road doubleheader next Tuesday against the Moberly Sixers 17U team, beginning at 6 p.m. at Howard Hils Complex.
"We're nursing a couple of injuries, we got a few kids missing," Bernskoetter said. "We're hoping to get everybody back next week, play a couple games in Moberly and then head into the Sedalia tournament, which is a really good tournament."