Photos from Waterloo baseball’s super-sectional victory
With the score tied and a chance to give his team an early advantage Monday at the Class 3A Sauget Super-Sectional, Waterloo senior Ty Kueper didn’t want to try to do too much.
Instead, Kueper did just enough.
The Bulldogs’ No. 2 hitter, Kueper cleared the bases with a three-run double in the second inning to break the game open as Waterloo defeated Effingham 11-1 at GCS Ballpark.
“I just tried to take a good swing and make good contact. I didn’t want to get over anxious. I just wanted to hit the ball hard,” Kueper said. “We’ve just really put things together here in the postseason. Hopefully, we can play this way for two more games.”
Junior Nate Albrecht added three hits and also drove in three runs for Waterloo, which needed less than five full innings to secure its first trip to the Class 3A state finals since 2011 with the lopsided win over the Flaming Hearts (24-10). The game was stopped in the fifth inning by the 10-run rule.
Waterloo (24-12), which placed third in the Class 3A state finals eight years ago, will take on Burbank St. Laurence in the state tournament semifinals at 10 a.m. Friday at Joliet Route 66 Stadium. St. Laurence defeated Chicago De La Salle 3-2 at the Crestwood super-sectional Monday.
The Flaming Hearts took a 1-0 lead against Waterloo sophomore Dustin Crawford in the first inning, but the Bulldogs got even in the bottom of the inning on an RBI by Trey Kueper.
But sending nine men to the plate in the second inning, the Bulldogs battered Effingham pitchers Matthew Loy and Jackson Lee for six hits, including four in a row, to take control of the game.
“That is as well as we’ve hit the ball in the postseason,” Waterloo coach Mark Vogel said. “I’m just happy for these kids. The seniors, but all the kids really. They play the game the right way.
“The difference in the postseason has been our defense. But our pitching has been excellent, and it was again today. Dustin (Crawford) has the ability to change speeds, he gets his slider over, and he knows how to compete. He comes from an athletic family, and so he knows what it’s all about.”
Leading 6-1, the Bulldogs put the game out of reach with four more runs in the fourth inning, as Albrecht had a two-run double, and Logan Kaltenbronn and Josh Wittenauer also drove in runs.
The Bulldogs finished the day with 13 hits against four Effingham pitchers.
“That is a very good team we played today, but we knew that coming in,” Flaming Hearts coach Chris Fleener said. “Our kids threw strikes, but we just couldn’t get the ball by them. They just kept hitting gap after gap after gap.”