While Southern Illinois University Carbondale recruit Ryan Netemeyer is at the top of the scouting sheet for any team facing Mascoutah, he's just a major part of the large talent pool the Indians posses this season.
Mascoutah (28-6) is the top seed and defending champ at the Class 3A Waterloo Regional and gives everyone else a something to shoot for. The Indians tuned up for the regional by throttling No. 2 seed Columbia 11-1 on Friday.
"I just think they're a complete baseball team," Waterloo coach Mark Vogel said of the Indians. "I don't think they have a weakness. There's a confidence that a kid like Netemeyer gives an entire team. I thought (Colorado Rockies prospect) Garrett Schlecht did that for us in 2011.
"We just kind of rallied around him and felt better about ourselves and that's what Netemeyer does for Mascoutah. He's as good a pitcher as there is in the area and he's a good offensive player in that three spot."
Netemeyer, a hard-throwing right-hander who also plays shortstop, is 7-0 with a 1.24 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings. He's also hitting .353 with 12 doubles, two homers and 29 RBIs.
"Netemeyer's done a great job for us all year," Mascoutah coach Don Eddy said. "Every time he steps on the mound we've got a great opportunity to win."
Mascoutah has won seven straight, but that streak began after a 4-0 loss to No. 3 seed Waterloo (19-13).
"Waterloo's starting to play a whole lot better and they're always going to be a threat," Eddy said. "Columbia's one of the top teams in the Cahokia Conference."
Four Cahokia Conference teams won 1A or 2A regional titles, so Eddy is correct about that league's Mississippi Division champs.
But the deepest team in this regional is Mascoutah, which has one of the area's hottest hitters in senior first baseman Collin Renth (.420, 11 doubles, two triples, four homers, 23 RBIs). The Indians' balanced offense includes Chase Barnes (.349, eight RBIs), Jacob Pratt (.346, eight doubles, two triples, 29 RBIs), Alex Oltmann (.350, nine doubles, one homer, 22 RBIs) and Austin Waugh (.309, seven doubles, two triples, 19 RBIs).
"For the most part our pitching has done an outstanding job and our defense has done a very good job," Eddy said. "We've had really good senior leadership, too."
Taking on the winner of the first-round matchup between Cahokia and East St. Louis gives Mascoutah the luxury of saving Netemeyer for the regional championship.
Waterloo faces a tough first-round matchup in Monroe County rival Columbia, although the Bulldogs beat the Eagles 4-0 on May 17.
Waterloo did not see Columbia senior left-hander Josh Fleming (8-3, 1.59 ERA, 81 strikeouts in 66 innings) that day. However, Waterloo pitcher Austin Nunnery (6-2, 1.51 ERA) slammed the door on the Eagles with a two-hit shutout and 10 strikeouts.
"Any time we play Columbia it's going to be a tough one," Vogel said.
The Bulldogs have one of the region's deepest mound staffs with Nunnery, Jeremy Rettig (4-4, 3.08 ERA), Tyler Hebel (4-0, 2.06 ERA) and Austin Campbell (2-4, 2.91 ERA).
"We're starting to feel better about ourselves," said Vogel, whose team is 7-3 in its last 10 games with a recent 4-2 victory over top-ranked 4A powerhouse O'Fallon. "To be able to beat O'Fallon, it was one of those days where a lot of things went our way. We've felt all year long that our pitching can keep us in games and Jeremy Rettig threw a gem against O'Fallon."
Columbia (19-10) lacks the offensive firepower it has shown in the past, but the Eagles have a capable offense led by Quinten Spivey (.414, four doubles, two triples, eight RBIs), K.J. Spisak (.366, five doubles, one homer, 21 RBIs), Zach Mathews (.303, seven doubles, one homer, 20 RBIs) and Camren Shewfelt (.300, three doubles, 21 RBIs).