Wesclin, Lebanon, New Athens win baseball regionals

News-DemocratMay 24, 2014 

On a Saturday that saw the Cahokia Conference win four baseball regional championships, Wesclin had to beat another Cahokia Conference team to win the Class 2A Wesclin Regional.

The Warriors fell behind 3-0 early to Central, then rebounded quickly and posted an 8-4 victory over the Cougars to win their third regional title in four years.

"Every day you've got to come to play and if you don't you're going to get beat," Wesclin coach John Groennert said when asked about the strength of a conference that has produced numerous state titles. "It's a very tough conference. It really gets you ready for the postseason."

Starting with New Athens in 1979, the Cahokia Conference has won six state championships. The list includes Marissa (1986), Columbia (1987 and 2007), Freeburg (1989) and Dupo (1996). Current league member Carlyle won a state title in 1981 as a member of another conference at the time.

Wesclin senior and Southern Illinois University Carbondale recruit Michael Klein had a bases-loaded, three-run double to break a 3-3 tie in the fourth while Ryan Meddows also drove in three runs for the Warriors.

"A guy like Michael's been there for four years now and this his third regional championship," Groennert said. "He's been to state with us and knows how to perform in big games. He didn't have a great game against Greenville and he came through for us today."

Klein had a lot of help as Brady Kunz went 3-for-4, Darrell Combs was 2-for-3 and Meddows and Jared Timmermann each had two hits.

Wesclin (23-13) will face Teutopolis at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Greenville Sectional.

Some shaky defense allowed Central to grab an early lead with three runs in the first.

"Our defense let us down there early in the first inning," Groennert said. "We didn't make a couple plays, but talking to the players, they weren't worried. We knew we could hit and score runs, it was just a matter of holding them and not giving them any more."

Meddows had a two-run single in the sixth.

Timmermann pitched the first five innings to gain the victory with relief help from Kenny Hagarty.

Central's magical run through the regional ended in the title game as the Cougars finished with a 12-20 record. Dillon Smith was 2-for-4 with an RBI while Mitchel Rule took the pitching loss.

Class 1A

Lebanon Regional

Lebanon 7, Odin 0

Lebanon won its second straight regional as pitchers Zach Grob, Taylor Schmitt combined on a three-hit shutout to beat Odin.

Grob left in the second inning with what coach Dave Causey said was a "back issue" and the Greyhounds had plenty of pitching in reserve to close out the win.

"He really struggled in the second inning," Causey said. "I don't want to take chances with losing him for postseason play and I knew we had plenty of pitching."

Schmitt worked the third, fourth and fifth and Adams pitched the final two innings.

Lebanon's J.C Villmer was 2-3 with a double, Schmitt was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and Rend Lake recruit Zach Becherer was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.

The Greyhounds led 2-0 until the fifth, when Schmitt's two-out, two-run single to right created some breathing room.

Lebanon (12-15) will face North Greene at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in the Carlinville Sectional.

Class 1A

New Athens Regional

New Athens 5, Okawville 1

Brandon Contratto tossed a complete-game victory and also had a triple as the New Athens Yellow Jackets nailed down a victory over Okawville.

New Athens (16-17) advances to the Carlinville Sectional and will face Nokomis at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Class 2A

Metro-East Lutheran Regional

Roxana 4, Southwestern 1

Roxana scored three times in the top of the eighth to break a 1-1 tie and senior Nelson Martz struck out 15 in eight innings to lead the Shells past Southwestern in the Class 2A Metro-East Lutheran Regional Championship.

Martz allowed three hits and one unearned run, walking two.

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

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