EDWARDSVILLE – Chance Foss delivered in prime time and Steven Pattan extended his torrid hitting as the Metro East Bears kept rolling in the American Legion Great Lakes Regional.
Post 199/126 rallied to beat Beloit, Wis., 7-5, on Thursday night at Roy E. Lee Field and remain unbeaten in the double-elimination tournament. Metro East, now 19-6, meets 29-1 Rockport, Ind., the only other undefeated team, at 7 p.m. Friday. Rockport, which has won 29 consecutive games, shaded Bay City, Mich., 6-5.
“I’m very proud of their effort tonight and Wednesday night,” Bears’ manager Ken Schaake said of his team’s 2-0 regional start. “They answered back both nights. It would have been easy for us to roll over after being down, 5-2 tonight, but we didn’t do that.”
Not at all.
Beloit, which fell to 30-8, scored three times in the bottom of the sixth to grab a 5-2 lead. Then the Bears responded with five in the top of the seventh. Foss produced the big hit, a two-run double to snap a 5-5 tie.
“That was his best clutch hit of the season,” Schaake said. “It was a good line drive and gap shot.”
Foss agreed. “For sure, that’s the biggest hit of the year for me,” he said. “We knew what we were up against and we had to fight the whole game. We were on the big stage and we performed.”
Nobody is performing better than catcher Steven Pattan. He’s on fire. Nobody can get him out.
Pattan went 4-for-4 the second successive game, a lofty achievement for the No. 9 hitter in the lineup. Those eight hits are singles as Pattan is spraying the ball all over the field. He also had a successful bunt against Beloit..
“I’m just seeing the ball really well and taking smart at bats,” said Pattan, a shortstop for the Alton Redbirds the past spring. “As a team, we’re playing with a lot of intensity and our will to win is really good.
“We don’t give up.”
Drake Hampton drove in two runs, one with a single in that explosive seventh. Collin Clayton pitched in with two hits and supplied a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Jake Garella added a RBI double.
“It was a really competitive game,” Beloit manager Ryan Schmitz said. “They have a great team and we do, too. We just didn’t get as much big hits as they did.”
Schaake figures the Bears have turned things up a notch since ending their regular season on July 16.
“We (coaches) told the guys before the game that just because you are the host team, don’t think you don’t belong in this regional,” he said.
Storm Coffman pitched six solid innings to log the win. He allowed nine hits and five runs, including those three in the sixth. Devin Colley then worked three scoreless innings to register the save. Colley was touched for three hits and two walks, but wriggled out of trouble.
“It’s the first regional for me, so I didn’t know what to expect,” Colley said. “But the atmosphere is great here and it feels really good to be 2-0. It’s amazing.”
Clayton’s double, an infield out and Hampton’s ground-ball out produced the Bears’ first run in the fourth. Then Clayton contributed a run-scoring single in the fifth and Garella nearly followed that with a bases-clearing hit. However, Beloit right fielder Nate Loomis made a diving catch to rob Garella and save at least two runs.
Yet the Bears saved their best for last. Metro East’s five-run seventh matched its fourth-inning uprising Wednesday against Pickerington, Ohio. The Bears then tacked on sixth in the seventh of that game for a 13-1 romp.
“We have been grinding out every at-bat and we are excited about what we have going,” Foss said.
Elsewhere on Thursday, Madison, Wis., ousted Illinois champion Danville, 12-4, and Shelbyville, Ky., eliminated Pickerington, Ohio, 12-11. Six teams remain going into Friday’s games.
Shelbyville faces Bay City at 10 a.m., with the losing team going home. Wisconsin rivals Madison and Beloit clash at 4, with the loser eliminated. Then it’s the Bears and Rockport following the second game.
If the Bears win Friday, they’ll play at 7 p.m. Saturday. If they lose Friday, they will go again at 4 p.m. Saturday. The tournament concludes Sunday, with one or two games. The Great Lakes Regional champion advances to the World Series next week in Shelby, N.C.
GREAT LAKES REGIONAL
METRO EAST BEARS 7, BELOIT 5
Metro East 000 110 500 – 7 12 0
Beloit 200 003 000 – 5 12 1
ME Bears (19-6) – Cole Cimarolli 1-3, Collin Clayton 2-4 2B RBI, Jake Garella 1-5 2B RBI, Drake Hampton 1-5 BI-2, Mitchell Krebs 1-5, Chance Foss 1-4 2B RBI-2, Cole Hansel 1-4, Steve Pattan 4-4. WP – Storm Coffman IP-6 H-9 R-5 ER-5 BB-0 K-0; Devin Colley IP-3 H-3 R-0 BB-2 K-0
Beloit (30-8) – Kevin Raisbeck 1-4, Ethan Burns 2-5, Nate Loomis 2-4, Austin Grove 2-5 RBI-2, Andres Oselio 1-4 2B RBI, Drew Freitag 1-4 RBI, Jake McClellan 3-4 RBI. LP – Cade Johnson IP-.2 H-3 R-2 ER-2 BB-1 K-0; L. Johnson IP-6.1 H-9 R-5 ER-5 BB-3 K-2; Miguel Betancourt IP-2 H-0 R-0 BB-0 K-0