FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS — It took a little longer than Murphysboro manager Butch Brasal would have liked but the hits finally started to fall midway though a second round game on Tuesday at the American Legion Fifth Division Tournament.
Jake Stewart drove in two runs while southpaw Gavin Ellet held Belleville scoreless in a brilliant five-inning relief stint as Murphysboro remained in the winners bracket with a 5-2 win at Moody Park
Belleville (30-13) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third inning off Murphysboro starter Blake Baumann on a run-scoring triple by Adam Bauer and an error. But when Ellet entered the game in the fifth inning, Belleville managed just four hits the rest of the way.
Stewart added an RBI single and Brian McMahon added a sacrifice fly as Murphysboro (28-5) took the lead for good with a three-run fifth inning outburst.
Murphysboro also was the beneficiary of several good breaks as many of their 11 hits seemed to be just out the reach of Hilgards defenders.
"The first couple of innings we were hitting the ball hard. But we didn't have anything to show for it. But I wasn't worried because we were stroking the ball and having good at-bats,'' Murphysboro manager Butch Brasal said. "And as long as we were doing that, sooner or later they are going to fall for us. That's what happened.''
The win lifts Murphysboro into a 7 p.m. showdown with Edwardsville on Wednesday in a battle of teams with 2-0 marks in the double elimination tournament.
Belleville will take on Effingham at 1 p.m. today in a consolation bracket contest.
The Hilgards, getting a pair of defensive gems including one from third baseman Austin Bammer in the second inning, struck first in the top of the third when Ryan Marcum reached and scored on Bauer's triple. Bauer also scored on the play when the relay throw to the plate went to the screen for an error.
Hilgards pitcher Cory Renois, aided by solid defense, kept his team on top until the bottom of the fifth when Murphysboro took the lead for good.
Belleville manager Zach Rakowski said he was pleased how Renois threw on Tuesday. But Rakowski also thought his team was also a little unlucky.
"I thought our pitchers did a good job of getting ahead of the hitters and making good pitches, but they were able to get just enough of them. Some days ground balls and pop flies just find holes,'' Rakowski said. "I know its a cliche', but tomorrow we have to put this game behind us and look at one out and one inning at a time.
"I have confidence my team will bounce back."
Brasal said he was just trying to get innings out of Ellet.
"I thought Blake (Baumann) did a nice job and then we bought Gavin in with the idea of getting a couple of good innings from him,'' Brasal said. "Belleville hit some balls on the button against his, but our defense made the plays."
The Murphysboro defense turned three double plays on the night.
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at 239-2661 or firstname.lastname@example.org