By the time the first inning ended Monday, Mascoutah High pitcher Ryan Netemeyer was well on his way to a victory.
Netemeyer blasted a two-run homer in the first and blanked the Waterloo Bulldogs on six hits while striking out 10 in a 3-0 Mississippi Valley Conference baseball victory.
Netemeyer improved to 3-0 this spring with 29 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings.
"It's really exciting what we're doing here," said Netemeyer, a junior right-hander headed to Southern Illinois University Carbondale who helped Mascoutah (12-6) improve to 3-0 in the MVC. "I just try to throw strikes and get ground balls."
Veteran Waterloo coach Mark Vogel said his team found Netemeyer's pitching a little more complex than that.
"What he did on the mound and hitting a two-run homer in the first inning, that was the difference," said Vogel, whose 10-3 club is 2-1 in MVC play. "He's been a handful since he was a freshman and threw the ball extremely well today. I was very impresed with him at an early age as far as his knowledge of pitching. He's a very good athlete on the mound, you have to give him all the credit."
Netemeyer did walk Waterloo's leadoff hitter in the top of the first, but made few mistakes after that.
"That was after he hit a two-run homer, so he was kind of jacked," Mascoutah coach Don Eddy said. "Any game you go on the road ,when you can put up something in the first inning it's great."
Netemeyer followed up Zach Lindsay's single with a two-run homer to left that put the Indians on top against Waterloo starter Jeremy Rettig.
Mascoutah added another run in the fifth inning. Mike Biekert was hit by a pitch and scored on Lindsay's two-out single to center.
Netemeyer said taking the mound in the bottom of the first already leading 2-0 had a calming effect. Of course his second homer this season provided those two runs.
"You can really trust your defense after that. We made a lot of good plays in the infield today," he said.
Eddy said Netemeyer has improved in several areas over the last two seasons.
"He's increased in veolcity over the years and he's matured on the mound," Eddy said. "He has better command of his off-speed ptiches and better command of his fastball. He was very sharp today and worked ahead of most hitters."
Netemeyer said the Indians took a big step last week when they wiped out a 7-0 deficit and scored four runs in the sixth and four more in the seventh to pull out a thrilling 8-7 conference victory over Triad.
"That was huge," he said. "That really set a precedent for us as a team. We know we can come back when we're down and we know we can hit well."
Eddy thinks victories over Triad and Waterloo have done a lot for Mascoutah's confidence.
"As coaches you can tell them they can play with anybody," he said. "But sometimes it takes something like that to show them."
Rettigm who began the day 3-0 with a 0.79 ERA, held Mascoutah to just four hits over five inning and also struck out six without walking anyone. Waterloo junior right fielder Nathan Goodsell was 3-for-3, but no one else had more than one hit.
"We have to continue to improve offensively," Vogel said. "For a lot of guys this is their first year of varsity baseball and today they saw the top end of varsity pitching. I think our kids will learn from it."
When Waterloo put its leadoff man on base to start the seventh, Mascoutah erased him with a double play.
"We got beat today, we didn't give it away," Vogel said. "Mascoutah earned it."
Althoff 4, Mater Dei 0
Althoff senior Bryce Richter (4-1) still hasn't allowed an earned run this season after blanking Mater Dei on six hits and striking out four.
Richter has allowed six unearned runs while striking out 28 in 25 2/3 innings.
Mater Dei ace Mitchell Langenhorst held Althoff scoreoeldd until the fourth. The Crusaders (7-8) got one run in the fourth and three more in the fifth, with Althoff's Atlee Champion providing a double and three RBIs.
Richter was 2-for-3 with an RBI for Althoff and Luke Frazier added a double.
Highland 6, Jerseyville 3
A four-run sixth inning helped carry Highland (12-3) past Jerseyville in another MVC game. Eastern Illinois University recruit Jake Haberer was 3-for-4 with two doubles and a solo homer and also got the pitching win, scattering seven hits and three runs over six innings. Tyler Zappia had two RBIs for Highland.