Valmeyer’s first trip to the state tournament yielded a second-place trophy following a 6-2 loss to Peoria Heights at Dozer Park in Peoria on Saturday.
“We made history at our school and nobody has ever been this far or this close so we did real great,” senior Easton Wallace said. “I’m proud of everyone on the team.”
Peoria Heights (24-5) scored two runs in the first inning off of Wallace before he settled in. The Patriots Rylee Miller hit a sacrifice fly to score the first run and Trent Sherlock hit a RBI triple.
Wallace left the game facing a 2-0 deficit, but gave the Pirates a chance.
“I felt good,” Wallace said. “I felt like I was throwing a lot of strikes.”
Peoria Heights ace Blake Begner finished with 10 strikeouts and earned the win. Begner entered the game with a 0.00 ERA in 46 innings.
“It’s uncharacteristic that our big hitters didn’t hit today but you have to tip your cap,” Valmeyer coach Greg Reinhardt said. “He knew who our big hitters were and he made some good pitches. You have to tip your hat. Sometimes you get beat.”
Valmeyer’s (28-11) best opportunity came in the sixth inning when Wallace led the inning off with a single. Philip Reinhardt hit a one-out single, after a fielder’s choice, and catcher Tyler Kempfer walked to load up the bases.
Following a Michael Chism strikeout, Drew Maus walked to get the Pirates on the board and cut the lead to 3-1.
“I was trying to get the team going and get a rally going but we just couldn’t get it done,” Wallace said.
Easton’s brother Erikson came in the game and went 1-for-1. He scored the Pirates’ second run in the seventh inning after being hit by a pitch and crossing the plate on Jake Krekel’s sacrifice fly.
The future is bright for Valmeyer, as only the Wallace brothers will graduate.
“The juniors will be hungry because that’s always been the core of our group so I hope that will give them so motivation for next year,” Reinhardt said. “We have some real good eighth graders coming in that will help out next year.”