WHEELING -Nick Naumann tossed a tidy five-hit shutout and Jon-Michael Brunner banged out three hits while driving in three runs as Wheeling Post 1 defeated Toronto Post 86 by an 8-0 score Tuesday night at the J.B. Chambers 1-470 Sports Complex.
Naumann, the Wheeling Central Catholic left-hander, had the visitors swinging and missing pitches low in the strike zone most of the game, striking out nine and allowing just two walks.
He was in trouble just twice during the briskly played game that took just 1 hour, 40 minutes to complete on what turned out to be a mild summer evening.
Naumann issued his only two walks in the fifth inning, followed by a Tyler Owens single that loaded the bases with two outs before bouncing back to strike out Ausin Lucas.
In the sixth inning, Post 86 put runners on second and third with one out but Seth Cox popped out to Naumann's Central teammate Nate Bakaitis at second base, followed by Ralph King's one-hopper to shortstop that was handled easily by Matt Carnahan.
With Coach Tom Pasco in South Carolina attending preseason football meetings at his new high school, Budda Henry and Scott Castilow handled the coaching duties for the Wheeling Legion squad.
After the game, Henry agreed that sometimes the best decision a coach can make is not to do anything. They had Ethan Jacobs warming up in the bullpen during the fifth and sixth innings with the score still reasonably close. Naumann, however, was given the opportunity to finish what he started and he did so impressively.
''Nick did a great job and we're glad we left him in," Henry said.
Naumann needed 108 pitches to complete the shutout and he was still strong in the seventh inning, picking up his eighth and ninth strikeouts before Owens' fly ball was caught in left field by Haydon Stanely for the final out.
Carnahan provided some early Fourth of July eve fireworks to get Post 1 off to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second. He rocketed a belt-high fast ball from Post 86 pitcher Nate Stewart well over the fence in left field for a home run.
Brunner then began his big night by lining the next pitch into center for an easy double. He took third when Stewart uncorked a wild pitch and scored on Jacobs' sacrifice fly.
It remained a 2-0 game until the bottom of the fifth when Stanley singled, Dylan Williams walked and Brunner rapped an RBI single to left. Patrick Biega was sent up as a pinch hitter and promptly singled to right, putting Post 1 ahead 4-0.
Two walks, a hit batter, Bakaitis' run-scoring double to the gap in center field, sacrifice flies from Nick Breen and Carnahan, along with an RBI single by Brunner enabled Wheeling to put the game away with a four-run sixth inning.
''Our hitting with runners in scoring position was awesome," Henry said. ''Fundamentally, we also did a lot of good things. We didn't have an error and we hit three sacrifice flies. Twice we had the bunt on and we ended getting walks. We'll take that every time.''
Toronto's only extra base hit came on Spenser Sninchak's double with one-out in the sixth.