A unchecked fly-ball single into shallow right-center field preserved one outstanding pitching effort and spoiled another.
Belleville East's Brady Schanuel and Beleville West's Matt Klosterman battled pitch-for-pitch through the regulation seven innings before the eighth inning flare lifted the Lancers to a 1-0 Southwestern Conference victory.
"There were two guys on the mound who were extremely competitive," said East coach Todd Blomberg. "Neither offense could get anything going. For us, Brady was outstanding. Matt did a really good job for them. Overall, it was a very clean, well-pitched, well-defensed game."
East won the game with third baseman Mitch Harlan batting and the West defense playing deep and favoring the left side. Harlan lifted a fly ball toward an open spot between center, right and second base the Maroons could not get to.
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Schanuel, who reached on a one-out walk and advanced to second on a bobbled ball at third, was able to score the winning run.
He also picked up his fourth win of the season by allowing just four Belleville West hits, while striking out 10 and walking one. He did so with college scouts in West's metal bleachers with their radar guns fixed on his every throw.
"You try to tune that out," Schanuel said. "You know they are there, but you pretend they're not and focus on just pitching your game."
The recruiters also got a good look at Klosterman, a kicker who already is committed to play football at Robert Morris University in Chicago. The senior allowed four Lancer hits while striking out 10, walking three and hitting two.
But it was another tough-luck loss. Klosterman also lost his last start 1-0, when he matched Alton flame-thrower Bryan Hudson pitch for pitch.
"Matt does what he does well for us and we couldn't get any runs for him ... again," said West first-year head coach Todd Baltz. "He's now lost 1-0 to Alton and 1-0 to East against two of the top pitchers in the area. I don't know if there are any two better than Hudson and Schanuel, but he's right there with them."
Tuesday's loss to East was the Maroons' seventh in a row and the seventh time they've been shut out this season.
Klosterman pitched out of jams in the fourth and seventh with the help of timely defense.
"He frustrated our hitters and got a lot big outs. He threw a lot of different pitches for strikes — a fastball, a two-seam fastball, a knuckleball and a slider," Blomberg said. "He had us guessing."
Harlan doubled off the fence down the left-field line and Drew Millas followed with a walk to put two one with one out in the fourth. West catcher Jacob Wilson, who had earlier thrown out a would-be Lancer base stealer at second, over-threw second base in an attempted pick off.
The runner froze at second, but Millas was caught between first and second and gunned down by West center fielder Jack Lanxon.
In the sixth, with two out, West shortstop Cal Kossina ranged made an outstanding diving stop on a ball hit sharply up the middle by Harlan. The throw to first was low and wide, but dug out with a back-handed scoop by Wyatt Parker.
East put three runners on base in the seventh. But the rally was killed when Patrick Gaul lifted a soft liner into center field. Lanxon made a diving attempt but lost the ball when he hit the ground. Because of where the ball was placed, the runner at second, Millas, had to freeze and was forced out at third on a strong throw from Lanxon.
Schanuel, meanwhile, pitched to more than four batters in just one inning and allowed just one West runner to advance beyond second base. The Lancer defense did not commit an error.
"I didn't have the usual velocity on my fastball today," Schanuel said. "But my curve ball and slider were definitely working for me."
East, 10-4, next faces Gibault. West will play at St. Louis U. High. Both games are at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.