VALMEYER — The drought is finally over for the Millstadt VFW baseball team.
Luke Matecki had three hits and highlighted a six-run, sixth-inning uprising with a two-run single as Millstadt defeated Fairview Heights 8-4 on Wednesday in the title game of the 41st annual Valmeyer Mid-Summer Classic at Borsch Memorial Park.
Held in check through five innings by Fairview Heights starter Stephen Siegel, Millstadt broke through in the sixth inning as Tony Matecki, Zach Hawkins and Luke Matecki all came through with run-scoring hits.
The hit by Luke Matecki, who was voted tournament MVP, put Millstadt up 7-1 and on its way to its first Valmeyer title since way back in 1979 when Jimmy Carter was the president.
Fairview Heights, playing in its third title game since the 2007, didn't quit.
But when Millstadt relief pitcher Sean Hulse struck out the final hitter in the ninth, a 33-year victory drought had come to an end.
"I'm very happy. I'm just glad I wasn't the manager all 33 years,'' Millstadt manager Norm Toenjes said. "Fairview Heights has a good team, but we got good pitching, played well in the field and got big hits when we needed too.
"It's been a long time. It's good one to win. I know it means a lot to our baseball team.''
While it was a team victory for Millstadt, Luke Matecki was their offensive leader during the past three games. For the tournament, Matecki had nine hits and reached base 12 times.
"I don't think I've ever had a three-games series like this. I felt real good all three games,'' Matecki said. "In all honesty, I started the season kind of slow. So we just went back to work at home.
"You know though everybody stepped up. Brandon (Hoguet) pitched well and Sean (Hulse) came in and got a key out there in the eighth inning and then in the ninth.''
Fairview Heights, which lost in the title game in both 2007 and 2010, struck first as Sam Wahlig doubled to lead off the first and scored on a single by Rob Blumberg.
Mitch Matecki then tied the game in the bottom of the fourth when he singled, stole both second and third base and scored Millstadt's first run on a throwing error.
Siegel, breezing along through five innings, seemed to tire in the hot, humid conditions in the sixth inning.
Brandon Hoguet singled to lead off the inning and one out later scored on a double by Tony Matecki.
Matecki then scored on a sacrifice fly by Tony Kossina, making it 3-1.
Three hits, a costly error by Fairview Heights center fielder Michael Adamson and Luke Matecki's two-run single later and Millstadt led 7-1.
Adamson atoned for his fielding miscue in the bottom of the seventh inning with a two-run home run as Fairview Heights closed to within 7-3.
But solid relief pitching from Brian Lupa and Hulse in the final two innings kept the Redbirds from getting any closer.