First he broke up the no-hitter, then Columbia’s Brennen van Breusegen made sure the Eagles won their high school baseball season opener.
Van Breusegen got Columbia’s first hit on a ground-rule double with one out in the sixth Thursday, then delivered a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh for a 3-2 victory over the Belleville East Lancers at the Prep Baseball Report Metro-East Kickoff Classic.
“Brennen is one of the hardest working guys we have on our team,” Columbia coach Neal O’Donnell said. “He put a ton of time in last summer, in the fall and the winter — and his success right there shows with what he was able to do.”
In the following game, Hayden Juenger and Logan Boente combined on a three-hit shutout and O’Fallon’s Jacob Dreyer singled home the winning run in the top of the seventh for a 1-0 victory over Chatham Glenwood.
Belleville East took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth at GCS Ballpark, but Columbia tied it on a two-out, two-run single by Sam Spivey that just eluded the outstretched glove of Lancers shortstop Austin Hitt.
The Eagles, who had only three hits against the Lancers, got the eventual winning run to third with two outs when pinch-runner John Schoentag stole second and went to third on a wild pitch by East reliever Evan Lawrence.
After Drew Drabant walked, van Breusegen drove a pitch to right field for the walk-off game-winner.
“He walked the guy before,” van Breusegen said. “I was just looking for a pitch to drive in the zone and I got one down the middle. I just drove it.”
Belleville East starter Cody Freppon took a no-hitter into the bottom of the sixth before van Breusegen lined a double over the right-field fence on one hop. Freppon allowed only two hits and struck out eight.
“I thought we had a lot of defensive swings and as the game went on, we looked a lot more comfortable at the plate,” O’Donnell said. “Especially in the last several innings.”
The Eagles were in danger of being held hitless and scoreless, but gained a spark from van Breusegen’s double.
“With the way the offense was going, that’s the spark that we needed — and that’s one of the reasons why he’s in the one-hole there,” O’Donnell said. “We expect that out of him.”
Belleville East (0-1) had five early hits against Columbia starter Luke Watson, but squandered several good scoring chances. The Lancers, who stranded seven runners, were hitless through the final four innings against Watson and reliever Zach Rosecrans.
“I thought Cody pitched great,” East coach Ryan Wiggs said. “He pitched well enough to win today, we didn’t capitalize on some opportunities we had early. I haven’t looked yet but we left a lot of guy on base. We needed to capitalize early and play better defense behind our pitchers.”
Lawrence had an RBI double in the third inning for the Lancers. Jordan Phillips had two hits and scored the second run on the back end of a double-steal in the sixth. Spivey had the game-tying two-run hit while Rosecrans tossed three hitless innings for Columbia, allowing a run on the double steal.
O’Fallon 1, Glenwood 0
Neither team did much hitting in this one as O’Fallon got the combined three-hit shutout from Juenger and Boente. O’Fallon managed five hits and Glenwood had three, with Boente tossing the final 2 2/3 innings to pick up the win.
Joe Guithues singled with one out in the seventh for O’Fallon and was replaced by pinch-runner Christian Koechner. Koechner stole second and scored on Dreyer’s single to left. Boente retired Glenwood in order in the bottom of the seventh.
Glenwood starter and Louisville recruit Reid Detmers was extremely sharp, striking out 11 in four scoreless innings while allowing three hits and reportedly hitting more than 90 mph on the radar gun. Juenger struck out six in 4 1/3 innings and allowed two hits.