Edwardsville wins regional on walk-off hit; New Athens brings home a sectional title

News-DemocratMay 31, 2014 

The only hits allowed by Alton junior left-hander Bryan Hudson on Saturday came to the leadoff man in the first inning and the last batter he faced in the seventh.

But that was enough to get Edwardsville a regional championship as Jake Garella's walk-off RBI single to right in the seventh inning gave the Tigers a 1-0 win over the Redbirds at the Class 4A Alton Regional.

Edwardsville senior Alex Meyers (9-0) tossed a one-hit shutout and the Tigers (30-7) -- coming off a no-hitter in the regional semifinals -- have allowed only one hit in 14 postseason innings.

They will face Southwestern Conference rival Belleville West (17-16) in the Bloomington Sectional semifinals on Wednesday at a neutral site in the metro-east.

Edwardsville began its rally with a one-out walk in the seventh to catcher Brock Weimer, who was replaced by courtesy runner Mitchell Krebs. Aaron Jackson also reached safely when Hudson fielded his grounder and failed to get an out at second base.

Garella followed with a single that scored courtesy runner Krebs from second.

"He's really starting to settle in and is getting better at-bats," Edwardsville coach Tim Funkhouser said. "He went with that pitch well."

But this game was primarily about the pitching as Hudson and Meyers were both masterful on the mound.

Meyers set down the final 18 Alton hitters in order and managed to lower an ERA that began the day at 0.78 even further. The Redbirds' only hit came on a second-inning single by catcher Nick Paulda.

Hudson (9-5), a 6-foot-7 left-hander, came away with a tough defeat.

"Both guys on the mound were exceptional today," Funkhouser said. "We'd faced Hudson in the past and I've seen him a couple times scouting. Today was the best I'd seen them. He made a lot of good pitches and didn't leave a lot over the plate."

Funkhouser was just as impressed with Meyers.

"He was able to throw all his pitches for strikes," Funkhouser said. "He just did a great job of keeping guys off base and making pitches."

Edwardsville also got good defensive plays from Jackson at third and Clayton, who made a diving catch in center.

"It was hard-pressed for anyone to get any offense to get going," Funkhouser said. "Thirty wins really puts our team into elite status and to do that we needed to win the regional. Our guys have been really focused all year and have battled through adversity.

"To see a guy like Meyers come through today was really good because he deserved the success."

Meyers was sidelined with tendinitis in the middle portion of the season, but has returned to pitch well again.

Class 1A Carlinville Sectional

New Athens 8, North Greene 1

New Athens (18-17) grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back, hammering North Greene to win the Class 1A Carlinsville Sectional. It was the school's first baseball sectional title since 1982.

"The boys were pretty subdued," aid New Athens coach Scott Wine, whose team built an 8-0 lead by the fourth inning. "They were tickled that they won. There was some picture- taking and high-fiving going on, but they were pretty much business as usual.

"I think I like that attitude. They're ready to get to work tomorrow again."

New Athens will face Griggsville-Perry at 4 p.m. Monday in the 1A Springfield Super-Sectional, being played at Lincoln Land College.

New Athens quickly made things tough on North Greene (23-10) by collecting three runs and seven hits in the first inning, also receiving three walks

Brandon Contratto got the win for New Athens allowing four hits and one run while striking out nine and walking seven.

Tyler Meyer had a two-run double and three RBIs on the day while catcher Alec Wade was 3-for-4 with an RBI. Nick Ozier and Dylan Toedte had a triple among his two hits and also scored two runs.

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

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