Mascoutah earned its first baseball regional championship in three years and nobody was around to celebrate.
The Indians held a 3-2 lead over Highland in the middle of the sixth inning Saturday when heavy rain forced the teams to call it a day. They departed Troy — the site of the Class 3A Triad Regional — with the understanding they would reconvene Monday to play the remaining inning and a half.
But by IHSA rule, the game was already official since five innings had been completed. Mascoutah won 3-2 and clinched the regional title.
No dogpile on the pitcher’s mound, no speech by the coach, not even a trophy presentation. The Indians celebrated in their homes while the Bulldogs offered congratulations via Twitter.
“We were told at the site that the game had to be finished through seven innings,” said Mascoutah coach Don Eddy. “Once we left the site, we looked and discovered that was not the rule.
“Sometimes you just have to go through and read it all the way through. It’s pretty clear cut that if it’s an official game that’s been stopped for rain, the game is over. It is what it is.”
Mascoutah (26-10) advances to the Salem Sectional, where it will face the host team in a semifinal Wednesday at 6 p.m. The Indians defeated the Wildcats 6-2 on May 19.
Highland’s season ends at 24-10-1.
The Bulldogs took the lead Saturday with a pair of runs in the first inning. Brock Troxell singled and eventually scored on a double steal. Dylan Knebel then knocked home Garrett Marti with an RBI single to left.
Mascoutah cut the Bulldogs’ lead in half in the third inning. Senior Austin Wombacher singled, advanced to second on a Michael Chaffin hit, to third on a wild pitch, then scored on a ground ball to third by Jacob Davis.
Wombacher and Jaydon Stewart got things started for Mascoutah with bunt singles to lead off the fifth. Wombacher scored from third on a sacrifice fly by Chaffin and Stewart scored what turned out to be the game-winner on a double by Noah Blakely.
Blakely got the win, allowing two runs on six hits while walking one and striking out three in six innings.
“It wasn’t the way anybody expected it to end when we left that day, but it is what it is,” Eddy said. “Any time you can win a regional with Highland, Triad, Freeburg and Jerseyville involved, it’s a good regional to win. I’m proud for our guys.”