BLUE SPRINGS — The Jefferson City American Legion Post 5 Juniors fell behind twice in two games Sunday, their undefeated record hanging in the balance.
Two late-inning rallies secured their undefeated record for another weekend, and gave them a tournament championship in the process.
Jefferson City overcame a two-run deficit to beat the Roncalli Pride 5-3 in the semifinals, then bounced back from a 3-0 deficit to top the Skutt Catholic Medicine Men 8-6 in the championship game to win the Fike Jr. Wood Bat Classic at Hidden Valley Field.
The Post 5 Juniors improved to 15-0 after winning its third tournament this summer.
Both the Roncalli Pride and the Skutt Catholic Medicine Men are teams from Omaha, Neb. The tournament consisted of 16 teams in four pools, with the winner of each pool advancing to Sunday's semifinals.
Trailing 3-1 through four innings against Roncalli, Post 5 tied the game with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth. Braden Hickey's sacrifice fly scored Jake Boyce, and Nolan Heckemeyer's single scored Cade Stockman to tie the game at 3.
Jefferson City took the lead with two more runs in the sixth, benefiting from four consecutive singles. Hayden Salmons hit the fourth straight single, scoring Andy Hueste, to give Post 5 a 4-3 advantage. Stockman, the next batter, added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly.
Heckemeyer went the distance on the mound to earn the win. In seven innings, he gave up three runs — all in the top of the third — on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts.
Boyce, Hueste and Salmons each had two singles to lead Jefferson City. Heckemeyer also drove in two runs.
Skutt Catholic scored three runs in the top of the second inning of the championship game. The Medicine Men had allowed just one run in its first four games of the tournament — beating Fike 12-0 in the other semifinal game — making the 3-0 lead look safe at the time.
Post 5 then sent all nine batters to the plate in the bottom half of the second, leading to a five-run inning.
Landry Bailey had an RBI double in the inning, while Landon Plochberger and Alex Grellner each had RBI singles. Plochberger also scored on a balk and Hickey hit a sacrifice fly to put Jefferson City ahead 5-3.
Skutt Catholic closed the gap to 5-4 in the top of the fourth, but Post 5 added on three more runs in the fifth to double its lead to 8-4. Jefferson City had four hits in the inning, getting RBI singles from Boyce and Hickey.
The Medicine Men scored twice in the sixth and had the tying run on base in the seventh with no outs. Plochberger closed the game with an infield pop-up, a strikeout and a flyout to left field to give Post 5 the championship.
Evan Kliethermes earned the win in relief of Gage Cunningham, who struck out four batters in the first 2 innings. Kliethermes allowed two runs on four hits with three walks and one strikeout in 3 innings.
Boyce led the hitting attack, going 3-for-3 with three singles. Hickey was 2-for-3 with two singles and two RBI and Bailey finished with two doubles and one RBI.