Belleville East tops Althoff to win city championship

News-DemocratMay 9, 2014 

— In a game that seemed headed toward darkness following a 45-minute rain delay that included some hail, Belleville East's Brady Schanuel finally decided to send everyone home.

Schanuel's RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh drove in Parker Hendricks with the winning run Friday in an 11-10 victory over Althoff that gave the Lancers the city championship.

"We'd been here long enough, been through a rain delay and all that. We were just trying to end it in seven," said Schanuel, whose game-winning hit was poetic justice for losing his no-hitter in the seventh inning a day earlier in a 2-0 loss to O'Fallon. "It was definitely a roller-coaster game, but we just kept fighting and tried to scratch across runs here and there."

Belleville East (12-12) led 6-1 in the first, only to watch Althoff (18-6) battle back to tie the game 7-7 in the fifth, 8-8 in the sixth and 10-10 in the seventh.

Before it got too dark, the Lancers emerged victorious with a seventh-inning rally against Althoff reliever Grant Strieker.

"We got runs at the end of the game when we needed it and had some guys come through in big situations," East coach Todd Blomberg said. "I thought it was a good example of two Belleville teams not wanting to lose and not giving up. That's not really how we had it drawn up, but we'll take it."

Blomberg said Hendricks, who appeared to injure himself while sliding into home, has battled a hamstring injury this spring.

"It looked to be 100 percent, but we had the rain delay and we were out here a long time," Blomberg said. "Maybe he was a little bit tight and trying to stretch it out to score he tweaked it a little bit."

Hendricks said "it's sore, but the victory helps ease the pain."

Trailing 10-8 heading into the seventh, Althoff tied it on Strieker's RBI single and a run-scoring grounder off the bat of Eric Mertens. East reliever Austin Wilson got the final two outs with runners at second and third, setting the stage for the winning rally by the Lancers in the bottom of the seventh.

"I was a little worried, yesterday was a pretty emotional game for us," Blomberg said of the O'Fallon loss. "We played a great game, Brady had the no-hitter going and to lose that in the seventh hurt. It was tough loss, but the kids bounced back. They showed a lot of resilience and I'm really proud of them."

Althoff coach Brett Isaacs praised his team's resiliency as well.

"That says a lot about these kids," Isaacs said. "They hate to lose and they're disappointed in the result. We could just have easily had one more hit there to put us on top, but it didn't happen."

East jumped on Althoff starter Austin Keen for six runs in the first with Hendricks collecting an RBI single and Jacob Parker driving in two more runs with a solid hit.

Althoff got one run in the third and three more in the fourth, using an RBI double by Luke Frazier and a two-run single by Mertens.

The Crusaders tied it 7-7 in the fifth on a balk and a Belleville East error. Althoff tied it again 8-8 on an RBI single by Jake Fischer in the sixth.

Belleville East answered back on Kevin Horner's RBI triple and Parker's third RBI of the night, a two-out, run-scoring single.

"That was a big answer for us and to be honest, Kevin has been a producer for us all year," Blomberg said of Horner, who entered the night hitting .403 with 12 RBIs. "He's really done a good job of being the guy we can count on."

Not to be overlooked was the relief pitching of Althoff's Josh Davinroy, who replaced Keen in the first and allowed only two runs before leaving in the sixth.

"Josh Davinroy did a great job of keeping it close for us to come back," Isaacs said. "He was huge today. I'm disappointed in the result, but not the effort, That was a great game.

"Both teams had a lot of kids get big hits and they got the biggest one there at the end."

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, nsanders@bnd.com or follow him on Twitter: @NormSanders

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