The Freeburg Midgets execution isn't what coach Drew Gericke thought it would be nine games into the season.
But Gericke can't be too upset with the results.
Making his season debut on the mound, Paden Muskopf didn't allow a hit in 1 1/3 innings in relief and drove in the game-winning run with a bases-loaded walk in the sixth inning as the Midgets edged Belleville East 5-4 on Monday in a nonconference baseball game.
The Midgets (6-3) rallied from an early 2-0 deficit and led 4-3 before the Lancers pushed across an unearned run in the top of the sixth inning to tie it at 4.
But when Jake Isaacs and Jack Lugge both collected their third hits of the game with one out in the bottom of the sixth, and Lancers reliever Sam McAnulty walked Brady Schmitz, the Midgets had the bases loaded.
McAnulty retired the next hitter for the second out, but walked Muskopf on a 3-2 pitch to force in Isaacs with the go-ahead run.
Muskopf then retired the Lancers in the seventh to pick up the win.
"Paden hadn't pitched at all this year, but we've got six games in six days this week. Hit or miss, it was going to be his game to finish," Gericke said. "We haven't been executing the way we should.
"Again, tonight there were a couple of times we didn't execute on offense and we made a couple of errors, including the one where they (East) tied it in the sixth. I think at least part of that comes from not playing as much due to the weather. We've got to do a better job, but we won tonight. We'll take it."
The loss breaks a six-game winning streak for the Lancers (7-4), whose sizzling bats were cooled off by Freeburg starting pitcher Dylan Neuner who allowed four runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. The Lancers had scored 56 runs in their last four games and outscored their opponents 63-10 during their six-game winning streak.
Still, coach Ryan Wiggs liked what he saw from his team. The Lancers received a leadoff home run from freshman Drew Gray in the first inning, an RBI double by Dillon Donjon in the second and a run-scoring single by senior Austin Hitt in the fourth.
"I thought we hit the ball hard and there were a couple of times we hit it hard and it got caught. But I was pleased with the defense and I thought (starter) Evan (Gray) threw the ball well," Wiggs said. "He was a little wild early. And I was also pleased with the way Sam (McAnulty) came in and pitched in relief."
Neuner was sharp against the Lancers. He struck out six and allowed three earned runs.
"Dylan pitched well and I thought he got stronger as the game went on," Gericke said. "He had a great curve ball. I'm surprised he didn't use it more often."