BELLEVILLE — The baseball purists would have loved this one.
Executing the basic fundamentals of the bunt to near perfection led to three Mascoutah runs on Monday in a 6-3 nonconference win over Belleville West.
Putting immediate pressure on the Maroons defense, a pair of Indians bunts in the first inning led to two unearned runs while Ryan Netemeyer pitched 6 1/3 strong innings as Mascoutah handed West just its second loss of the season.
After Maroons starter Jacob Wilson walked leadoff hitter Rob Pearson, Collin Renth laid down a bunt that Wilson bobbled then threw late to first base for an error.
With runners on first and second with nobody out, Maciek Milas then bunted down the third base line. The Maroons' Donnie Foster fielded the ball but threw wildly in his haste to get the runner at first base.
Pearson scored to give Mascoutah the lead and Renth scored the second run of the inning on a single by Brendan Dauber.
West would later tie the game at 2, but the Indians (7-3) sacrificed successfully twice more and executed the suicide squeeze to cap a three-run fifth inning to take a 6-2 lead.
"We just talked about it. We had our best offensive approach of the season. We hit a few balls very hard, we did a better job of putting the ball in play with two strikes and we laid down five bunts. And we executed on all five bunts,'' Indians coach Don Eddy said. "We were able to put some pressure on them early with the bunt and its always nice to get up early when you're on the road. Hopefully we can build on this game tonight.''
West (7-2) tied the game at 2 in the third inning on a run-scoring double by Alex Sharos and a sacrifice fly by Aaron Meyer.
But continuing their early-season offensive struggles, the Maroons didn't score again off Netemeyer until the seventh inning.
Mixing his fastball, curve and changeup and continuing to get ahead of the hitters, Netemeyer struck out six before being relieved by Austin Waugh with one out in the seventh inning.
Waugh got the final two outs to end the game.
"We had some mistakes which cost us a few runs early and right now when we fall behind we don't have the bats to help pick us up,'' Maroons coach Lee Meyer said. "We've got to find some guys who are more aggressive at the plate. We're falling behind in counts and while we're trying to battle back, sometimes its too late.
"Tonight we took a lot of first pitch strikes and when that happens you get down and you're kind of at the pitchers' mercy."
Mascoutah retook the lead in the top of the fourth when Alex Oltmann led off with a double and went to third when Wilson uncorked a wild pitch.
One batter later, Renth put Mascoutah up 3-2 with a sacrifice fly.
Seemingly getting stronger as the game went on, Netemeyer shutdown the Maroons on four hits during the next three innings
"I thought Ryan pitched well. I think he went more to his change-up later in the game but he threw a lot first pitch strikes,'' Eddy said of Netemeyer. "He spotted his pitches well.''
Trailing 6-2 in the seventh inning, West closed the gap when Brendan Saak doubled to lead off and scored on a single by Alex Sharos.
But with the potential tying run at the plate, Waugh retired the final two hitters to end the game.
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at 239-2661 or email@example.com