The Hannibal baseball team blasted three home runs Friday to beat Timberland 7-6 in the first round of the Class 5 District 8 Tournament.
Colton Brown bore down to secure history.
The senior relief pitcher entered the game Friday night needing five outs to send the Hannibal baseball team to its school record 16th win of the season.
Brown stranded a runner on third in the bottom of the sixth before tossing a 1-2-3 seventh as Hannibal defeated Timberland 7-6 in the first round of the Class 5 District 8 Tournament in Wentzville.
The southpaw took the ball from Pirates starter Wyatt Waelder, who emptied the tank by throwing 103 pitches while allowing just three hits over 5 1/3 innings to earn the win.
“I knew those five outs were going to be challenging,” Brown said of the save. “I didn't want to give it up for Wyatt. He grinded all day and worked his butt off, and our lineup hit the ball really well. We didn't want this to be our last game together.”
The Pirates (16-6) advance to play Troy in the district semifinals at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Gabe Worthington, John Trenhaile and Will Whitaker each hit home runs for Hannibal in the victory.
“We had a chip on our shoulder knowing we hadn't won a district game in however long,” Hannibal coach Ian Hatton said. “We wanted to prove a point today. We played a near-perfect game. We pitched it great, played great in the field and got the timely hits when we needed them. This is a surreal moment.”
Worthington lifted a three-run homer to left field in the first inning to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead.
The shortstop gave the Pirates a jolt of momentum on a 3-2 pitch.
“I was just trying to put something in play that I could hit solid,” Worthington said. “I didn't think it was going out at first, but it kept carrying and I had the wind on my side and it went out. It definitely set the tone for the game, and I'm glad I was able to get everybody hyped up.”
Trenhaile hit a towering shot to give the visitors a 4-1 edge in the third. His run was the Pirates' 185th of the season, breaking a school record set in 2009.
Gary Gulp provided a RBI double in the fourth to make it 5-1.
Whitaker, whose one-out double in the second was appealed and overturned for not touching first base, left no doubt in the fourth with a two-run long ball.
“We hit four home runs as a team all year, which is nothing to turn your nose up at, but to get three home runs in one game, that's enormous as far as getting the momentum,” Hatton said.
Waelder held Timberland (18-9) to three runs over five innings before hitting a wall in the sixth, when he allowed four of the five he faced to reach base.
Brown inherited a 7-4 lead with the bases loaded and one out. He gave up two tallies but fired a strikeout to escape the frame.
“I can't say enough about our pitchers today,” Hatton said. “Wyatt put together a great start, and for Colton to come in there and slam the door shut in a really tough situation, we did a great job of working through it with some quality pitches.”
Waelder gave credit to the defense for helping the Pirates secure the victory.
“The defense was stellar like they have been all season,” he said.
Entering Saturday, Hannibal has won seven straight games and 16 of its past 19.
The Pirates want nothing more than to keep the streak going.
“We're coming out confident,” Worthington said of the upcoming semifinal. “Obviously we're the underdogs and we're going to be this whole district tournament, but we know we can beat 'em and we're just going to come out fired up."