East holds on for 7-6 victory over West

News-DemocratMay 22, 2014 

— Technically, Belleville East's Brady Schanuel qualified for a victory and a save Thursday.

But the Lancers' senior right-hander settled for the win in the Lancers' 7-6 victory over host Belleville West, collecting the final two outs of a game in which he started, and was relieved.

Rules prohibit a pitcher from being credited with a win and a save in the same game.

"It was crazy," said Schanuel, who took a no-hitter into the fifth inning after East took a 7-0 lead. "The first five innings were great. We were hitting the ball, I was throwing strikes and our fielders were fielding the ball."

But the game changed. The Maroons got within 7-2 in the fifth and 7-5 in the sixth when Schanuel was relieved by junior left-hander Austin Wilson, who preserved East's two-run lead by retiring three straight hitters and stranding a runner at second.

But Wilson ran into trouble in the seventh, hitting junior Ryan Helfrich with a pitch and allowing singles to senior John Dozier and junior Spencer Piquard to load the bases with no outs.

Senior Zach Skaer grounded out to second as Helfrich scored to make it 7-6. Wilson intentionally walked senior Parker Beine, then injured his elbow and was exited the game with a 2-2 count on Maroons junior Jacob Wilson.

Lancers coach Todd Blomberg called on Schanuel, who retired Wilson on a foulout to second and junior Matt Klosterman on a grounder to second on a 3-2 pitch.

"Obviously, we were in a lot of trouble there. We were on the ropes," said Lancers coach Todd Blomberg. "I've never done that in my career before --put a kid back in on the mound.

"Another kid, (junior) Mitch Harlan, was our next option. He could have been on the mound. But it would have been such a short warmup period for him. Brady had been in the game and was still kind of loose. We thought that was our best option."

East improved to 15-12 overall and 7-6 in the Southwestern Conference. West fell to 14-16 and 5-9.

"That's how our kids are. We've battled to the last pitch," Maroons coach Lee Meyer said. "We had the bases loaded in the seventh and were feeling good about ourselves. Give Schanuel some credit. He came back in an hour later and closed the door on us.

"But I like the way we're going into the postseason. We're improving, but that doesn't mean anything without wins."

West is seeded fourth in the Class 4A Belleville East Regional and will play host to fifth-seeded Granite City in the first round at 4:30 p.m. Monday. The Lancers are seeded third and will play No. 2 Collinsville in the semifinals at 4 p.m. Thursday.

Senior Parker Hendricks' double and junior Dustin Stone's RBI single put the Lancers ahead 1-0 in the fourth against senior Brendan Saak. East's six-run fifth against Saak and reliever Klosterman was highlighted by Hendricks' two-run double and junior Sheldon Howard's bases-loaded triple to center.

The Maroons made it 7-2 in the fifth on junior Evan Meirink's RBI single and sophomore Cal Kossina's infield out. They got within 7-5 in the sixth on Beine's RBI single and a two-run double to center by Wilson that temporarily ended Schanuel's outing.

Schanuel was more than ready to go back to the mound after the Maroons cut their deficit.

"I felt better when I came back in than I felt when I came out," Schanuel said. "I guess it was adrenaline pumping. I'm just glad we hung on."

So was Blomberg.

"It was a really fun game to watch, I think, if you were a fan," he said. "As a coach, it's nerve-racking. Anything in that (seventh) inning could have gone against us and we would have lost."

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665.

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