Frustrating baseball season for Oakville Legion ends with 12-10 loss to Kirkwood

By Stephen Glover

The 2004 season has been frustrating for the Oakville American Legion baseball team.

In fact, when you take a look at the District 10 South standings, you notice that Oakville is 19-16 overall with a 6-12 mark in league play. Oakville’s mark in district play alone would make any coach want to pull out his or her hair.

Oakville’s frustration ended July 17 in a disappointing 12-10 loss to Kirkwood in the district tournament.

“It’s frustrating,” Oakville head coach Mike Wilhelm told the Call.

“We were considered the underdogs because we were a low seed. But everyone knows that traditionally we put out a pretty good ball team.”

What was frustrating for Oakville was the fact that starting pitcher Casey Turner struggled in just two-thirds of an inning as he gave up five runs in the first inning.

“He was getting hit pretty good,” Wilhelm explained. “He’s a fastball pitcher and the team we were facing knows him and they have some incredible hitters.”

Relieving Turner was pitcher Ryan Harris, who gave up four runs in 4 1/3 innings. The appearance for Harris was his first after suffering a broken hand earlier in the season.

“He (Harris) is one of the most even-keel persons I’ve seen,” Wilhelm said. “He did really well and had some good stuff.”

At the plate, second baseman Mike McComish racked up three hits along with a triple in the seventh, which drove in key runs in Oakville’s quest to tie the score at 10-10.

“It was Mike’s last game of his high school career and he went out with a bang,” Wilhelm said. “What a way for any high school player to go out with a triple in his last at bat.”

Oakville’s luck ran out quickly in the bottom of the ninth as Kirkwood won the game on a two-run home run. One team’s season ends by the swing of a bat while the other lives for another day to play.

“It’s a tough way to go,” Wilhelm said. “We were playing a pretty good ball game.”

Despite the loss to Kirkwood, Oakville did have three players make the annual District 10 All-Star Game, which is scheduled July 25 at the Ballwin Athletic Association’s fields in Ballwin. Left fielder Tony Maus along with center fielder Ken Meyer and pitcher Jimmy Klocke all will represent the south all-stars this year.

Maus held a .331 batting average this season with 27 runs batted in and a team-leading 11 doubles. Meyer batted .368 with 13 RBI and a team leading .490 on base percentage.

“If I had to pick someone to define consistency, it would be Tony,” Wilhelm said.

“As far as Ken goes, I’ve always known who was going to be our leadoff hitter and center fielder. His on-base percentage was just great this season,” he added.

Klocke held a record of 2-3 overall with a 2.53 earned-run average in 27 2/3 innings pitched. He led the team in strikeouts, 19, while not giving up a home run all season.

“Jimmy definitely emerged as our No. 1 pitcher,” Wilhelm said. “He always gave us our best chance to win a game.”

The District 10 All-Star game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.