Pittsburg Post 64 jumped out to an early advantage only to see Branson 18U chip away at the lead before putting a stamp on its 17-3 win in six innings with 14 runs crossing the plate late on Sunday at Warren Turner Field in the 5 Tool Classic tournament.
Pittsburg crossed home three times in the bottom of the first to take a 3-1 lead, but Branson scored a single tally in the second and third to tie the game. The Pirates touched home six times in the fourth and eight times in the sixth to put the game out of reach.
“We are excited to be out here,” Branson coach Troy Nimmo said. “We have been playing since the first of June and have been able to slowly get the kids back into it. I told them when we first started, I don’t care what the score is. Just enjoy being able to put the uniform back on and get back on the field. Don’t take anything for granted.”
Branson took the lead in the top of the first when Carter Jenkins drove home a run on a single. Pittsburg answered back with three runs to take the lead after one full inning. Gavin Wampler tied the game at 1-1 with an RBI double to left to score Brett Sutterby. Wampler later scored on an RBI groundout from Nate Smith, with Trevor Amershek following with an RBI single up the middle to make the score 3-1.
“Just to have the experience of playing on the quality of these collegiate fields and the atmosphere that comes with it is fun for the kids,” Pittsburg coach Doug VanBecelaere said. “It is a great experience to always play up against opponents. To jump out in front of a team like that, it was good for confidence. You could see them drop their heads after they lost the lead, but staying focused and doing the little things right is what is separating us from those other teams right now.”
After tying the game up with a run in the second and third inning, Branson took the lead for good in the top of the fourth with six runs crossing the plate. Ridge Schroeder picked up an RBI on a sacrifice fly before Jenkins ripped a ball off the left-field wall for an RBI double to make the score 5-3. After a run came home on a wild pitch, Zach Doyle tripled to right-center, driving home three runs to extend the lead to 8-3. Doyle later scored on a wild pitch to make the score 9-3.
“We had some timely hitting, and we started to get some people on base to be able to use our team speed,” Nimmo said. “It’s high school baseball. If you make (the other team) make plays, a lot of times, you can make some good things happen.”
Branson added eight runs in the top of the sixth. Doyle had a two-run double, while Tanner Winslow picked up two RBI on a triple to center before Schroeder followed with another triple to left-center. Jenkins added a third triple later in the inning, which scored two runs and brought the Pirates’ advantage to 17-3.
Wyatt Ridinger earned the win for Branson after allowing three runs in six innings.
“He did well,” Nimmo said. “That was his fifth start, and we have been slow with him. He had some good innings.”
Blaine Dunstan took the loss for Pittsburg.