Belleville West survives to bring home a baseball regional title

News-DemocratMay 31, 2014 

— Once he survived a scary sixth inning Saturday, Belleville West senior right-hander Parker Beine had every intention of slamming the door on Belleville East.

Beine got the job done, striking out the side in the seventh to preserve a 2-1 victory that gave the Maroons their first baseball regional championship since 2007.

"It's awesome. It's unexplainable," said Beine (8-4), a Jefferson College recruit who held East to five hits and struck out seven. "It's an unexplainable feeling."

Matt Klosterman's two-out RBI single in the sixth inning proved to be the difference as the Maroons won the Class 4A Belleville East Regional.

It probably would have impossible to get Beine off the mound with a regional title on the line. He allowed a run in the sixth, but seemed to throw even harder in the seventh.

"You could have said he looked like he was laboring, but honestly I don't think he was," West assistant coach Kevin Sangiolo said. "He was fighting through a tough inning. ... You knew it was bound to happen sooner or later. But Parker is Parker, he came out to pitch and he took control of the game."

West (17-16) will face Edwardsville (30-7) at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in the sectional semifinals at an undetermined site in the metro-east. Edwardsville defeated Alton 1-0 Saturday with a run in the seventh to win the Alton Regional.

Playing without coach Lee Meyer, who sat out Saturday's game after being ejected from West's semifinal win over top-seeded O'Fallon, the Maroons still came away with a win.

"We've got the guys on the team that can do it -- and we did it for Coach," Beine said.

"Nobody really expected us to win, so we had to upset somebody," Klosterman said. "We worked hard and luckily we got that win over O'Fallon, that was a great team effort.

"To come out here today and get a 2-1 victory over East ... I just can't explain it. It was a great team effort."

The Maroons lost twice to East during the regular season.

West took a 1-0 lead in the fourth against East starter Mitch Harlan (1-2).

Klosterman singled with one out, went to third on an error and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jacob Wilson.

West right fielder John Dozier drew a leadoff walk in the sixth and scored on a two-out single by Klosterman.

East threatened in the sixth after consecutive singles by Drew Millas, Parker Hendricks and Kevin Horner loaded the bases with one out.

Brady Schanuel drove in a run on a sacrifice fly to left, but Hendricks was thrown out trying to reach third for the final out of the inning.

Hendricks and Klosterman, the West shortstop, both noticed that no one was covering third base after the throw from the outfield.

Hendricks took off from second toward third and Klosterman got there too, taking a throw from Trey Hopkins and tagging Hendricks out.

"Our third baseman had come off to help the pitcher and I'd noticed that their player was off the base and was looking to go," Klosterman said. "I kind of had a lead over there, so I went over there to cover it and Trey was paying attention.

"It was a team effort, everyone was talking. He tossed it over to me and I tagged him out."

East coach Todd Blomberg said it was an aggressive play by Hendricks.

"That's just a competitive kid trying to make a play in a close game against a rival. It just didn't go our way," Blomberg said. "If it works, everybody says what a great move by him. I'm not going to fault a competitive kid for trying to make a close pay in a competitive game."

Harlan was also effective, allowing only four hits.

"I could not be more proud of Mitch," Blomberg said. "He showed us today that he's a very good pitcher. He showed us he's ready to come in next year and take over one of our top spots. He was magnificent today."

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

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