BELLEVILLE, Ill. — The Jefferson City American Legion Post 5 Seniors came through in the clutch, twice.
Jefferson City scored three runs in the eighth inning Sunday to beat Alton (Ill.) Post 126 5-2 in the semifinals. Post 5 then clung to a one-run lead, holding off Festus Post 253 for a 3-2 victory in the championship game of the Firecracker Tournament.
Post 5 finished with a 5-0 record in the three-day tournament, claiming their third tournament title of the summer. Last month, Jefferson City won tournaments at Sedalia and Ballwin.
Alton took a 1-0 lead after one inning in the semifinal game, but Post 5 tied the game in the top of the third. Drew Voss led off the inning with a double and scored on Josef Keilholz's one-out double.
Jefferson City took a 2-1 lead in the fifth when Justin Wood's RBI single scored Jackson Voss.
Alton tied the game in the bottom half of the inning, and neither team scored in the sixth or seventh innings, forcing extra innings.
Jefferson City collected three straight hits in the top of the eighth with one out. Jack Shinkle hit a single, followed by a double from Gage Bax. Dawson Koch then reached on an infield single, scoring Shinkle to put Post 5 ahead 3-2.
Later in the inning, Austin Wegman reached on an error, scoring both Bax and Koch to extend Jefferson City's lead to three runs.
Wood picked up the win in relief of Blake Terry, each going four innings. Wood gave up one run on four hits with one walk and two strikeouts, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh to send the game to extra innings. Terry allowed one run on one hit in four innings, walking three and striking out three.
In the title game against Festus, Jefferson City took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning with RBI singles by Wood and Bax. Festus scored once in the bottom half of the inning on a two-out double to make it a one-run game.
Each team scored a run in the fifth inning. Parker Schnieders hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Zach Woehr took put Post 5 ahead by two runs.
In the bottom half of the inning, Festus' first three batters reached base, leading to a run to make the score 3-2. Post 5 brought in Koch to relieve Bax on the mound, and Koch kept the lead at one run, stranding the bases loaded to end the inning with a strikeout.
Koch retired nine of the 10 batters he faced to get the save, striking out five.
Bax went four-plus innings to record the win. He allowed two runs on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
Jefferson City was held to four hits in the win as well. After Post 5 had two hits in the third, Woehr hit a double in the fifth and Shinkle led off the sixth with a single.
The Post 5 Seniors (15-5) begin play Wednesday in the Fike Wood Bat Tournament, opening against Rod's A's at 11 a.m. in Blue Springs. The tournament consists of 25 teams, with five teams each in five pools.
Post 5 and Rod's As are in Pool B, along with St. Joseph Post 11, St. Peters Post 313 and the Concordia Mustangs.