July 19, 2014

Giants slip past Hilgards in extra-inning pitchers' duel

Dean Gerros singled down the left-field line with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Swansea/Fairview Heights Giants edged the Belleville Hilgards 1-0 Friday in the American Legion District 22 Tournament.

"It was an inside fastball, and I just saw it and turned on it and hoped for the best," Gerros said of his game-winning hit.

The game was an old-fashioned pitchers' duel between Belleville's Bryce Richter and Fairview Heights' Tyler Herbert.

Herbert went 9 1/3 innings. He allowed seven hits, while striking out 12 and walking two.

"My arm felt good the whole game and my catcher, Hayden (Hewitt), called an awesome game," said Herbert, who has given up only three earned runs in 41 1/3 innings this season for an ERA of 0.35. "I hit my spots. I was mixing up pitches. changeup really worked tonight, and that's why I had great success."

The Giants (27-9) advance to the Fifth Division Tournament next week in New Baden as the runner-up in District 22. They'll play Murphysboro at 1:30 p.m. Monday.

The Alton Bears ready had advanced to Fifth Division Tournament as the champions of the District 22 Tournament.

The Giants went 3-1 against the Hilgards with all three wins coming in the last eight days.

"Our biggest rival," Herbert said. "We both respect each other, and it was a hell of a game."

Richter surrendered only four hits and no earned runs in 9 1/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked none.

"Both teams were battling," Richter said. "It was just a good game through and through."

Herbert exited the game after giving up a one-out single to Sam Haudrich in the top of the 10th inning.

"I could have kept going," Herbert said. "I felt good. I was jacked up."

Reliever Rich Boatman got the next hitter to pop out and Hewitt threw a laser beam to secnod base to catch Haudrich attempting to steal for the final out of the inning.

In the bottom of the 10th, Collin Holton led off with a hard grounder to Belleville third baseman Cory Renois, whose throw to first base pulled Adam Bauer off the bag.

Bauer tried to make a sweep tag on Holton as he ran past him, but Holton was called safe.

One of the Belleville assistant coaches was ejected from the game for arguing the call.

Robert Guithues bunted Holton to second base and Gerros drilled an 0-1 pitch past third base.

"I'd faced him four or five times, and he'd started to see it a little bit," Richter said. "Credit to him, he did his job."

Contact reporter Steve Korte at or 239-2522.

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