TROY — Doing all the little things right added up to a big win for the Mascoutah Indians.
Pitcher Ryan Netemeyer allowed four hits over 5 1/3 innings of work in running his record to 9-0 as the Indians downed the Jerseyville Panthers 9-1 Thursday in the semifinal round of the Class 3A Triad Baseball Sectional.
"If you're going to have a complete team, you need to be able to pitch and you need to be able to play defense,'' Mascoutah coach Don Eddy said. "We did both of those things today, and we did them pretty well.''
Netemeyer helped his own cause as he drove in three runs with a pair of sacrifice flies and an infield single.
The Indians also executed three sacrifice bunts and got stellar defensive plays from third baseman Mitchell Waeltz, shortstop Alex Oltmann and catcher Austin Waugh.
"Fundamental baseball helps you out a out,'' Netemeyer said. "Our offense was on today, and so was our defense. They made a lot of great plays behind me and helped boost my confidence a little bit.''
The Indians (31-6) will playing for their first-ever sectional championship in baseball when they square off against the Salem Wildcats (27-9) at 11 a.m. Saturday at Triad High School.
The Panthers ended their season at 24-13.
"We definitely didn't play our best game today, but we're not going to take anything away from Mascoutah,'' Jerseyville coach Darren Perdun said. "There is a reason they are 31-6 now. They're a fantastic ballclub.''
The game was a stark contrast from the two teams' previous contests in Mississippi Valley Conference play.
Mascoutah beat Jerseyville 6-5 in eight innings on April 21 and Jerseyville beat Mascoutah 7-6 in nine innings on May 7.
"We didn't want to go into extras this time,'' Netemeyer said.
The Indians collected 12 hits. They scored in every inning except the second and the sixth.
Netemeyer's sacrifice fly to deep right field brought home Collin Renth with the first run in the first inning.
Renth led off the game with a double off Jerseyville starter Crick Kimble and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Alex Oltmann.
In the third, Mike Biekert led off with a single. Renth reached on an error and Oltmann belted an RBI double to left-center field.
Netemeyer brought home Renth with his second sacrifice fly to deep right field.
"We wanted to score early, and we were able to score early,'' Eddy said. " I think Ryan had both of the at-bats. He hit deep sacrifice flies with guys on third. Those are just really good at-bats on his part, being able to drive the ball to the outfield with a guy on third with less than two outs.''
Waugh was hit by a pitch and Jacob Pratt delivered an RBI single to right field to put the Indians up 4-0.
Netemeyer drove in Biekert with a single in the fourth. Biekert walked with one out, Jeff Hightower followed with a single up the middle and Renth was hit by a pitch.
Chase Barnes and Wyatt Elbe sparked a two-run rally in the fifth inning with singles and pinch hitter Parker Pearman had an RBI triple to highlight a two-run rally in the seventh inning.
The Panthers got their run in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by Hunter Bryant.
Netemeyer struck out two and walked one.
"Ryan did a good job,'' Eddy said. "Ryan was able to locate (his pitches), the defense played well. Very few free bases and that gives us a great chance to win.''
The Panthers made contact against Netemeyer, but it wasn't consistently hard contact. And, when they did, Mascoutah's defense made the plays.
"They were making some tough plays, and we weren't,'' Perdun said. "When you get to this level, those plays get magnified.''
Austin Christ relieved Netemeyer after Kimble clubbed a one-out double in the sixth.
Christ got the final five outs, including the last three after walking two batters to start the bottom of the seventh.
Contact reporter Steve Korte at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2522.