Those Metro East Bears are the regular-season champions of District 22 in American Senior Legion baseball competition.
And they can thank Fairview Heights for making it happen.
Fairview Heights knocked off visiting Belleville, 4-1, on Friday night at Longacre Park, enabling the 21-6 Bears to finish 10-2 in the league. They will have the No. 1 seed for the seven-team district tournament that starts Sunday.
Metro East will be at home 7:30 Monday night against Highland in the week-long, double-elimination tournament. Since they are the top-rated team, the Bears will play all their games at Hopkins Field in Moore Park. Highland won its playoff opener Sunday by defeating Smithton, 8-5.
It was Fairview Heights and Belleville both finishing 9-3 in the league and sharing second place. However, since Fairview won the tie-breaker, it is seeded second. Belleville is seeded third, followed by Smithton,.Highland, Collinsville and Troy.
Also on Sunday, No. 3 Belleville walloped No. 6 Collinsville, 13-0, and No. 2 Fairview Heights defeated No. 7 Troy. The playoffs will continue through Thursday night, with the top two teams expected to advance to the Fifth Division Tournament that opens Monday, July 21, at New Baden.
The Bears swept Fairview Heights, Smithton, Collinsville, Highland and Troy in league play. Both of their losses were to Belleville. Fairview Heights lost twice to the Bears and once to Belleville. The Hilgards lost to Fairview, Collinsville and Highland.
Had Belleville defeated Fairview on Friday, it would have gained the No. 1 seed because of the tie-breaker with Metro East. But Fairview's victory gave the Bears sole possession of first place and the league title.
Elsewhere, Jerseyville scored a 15-5, seven-inning victory over Calhoun in its District 20 opener.
Post 492 now is one win away from claiming the district title in the best two-of-three format. Jerseyville entertains Calhoun at 6 p.m. Monday. If needed, a third game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, also at Jerseyville.
Both teams will advance to The Third Division Tournament, set to start July 21 in Jerseyville. The division champion qualifies to the state tournament at Arlington Heights.