EDWARDSVILLE — Six errors by the defense and seven walks by the pitching staff was not the recipe for success on Friday for the Metro East Bears.
The leaky play led to Post 199/126's first loss in the American Legion Great Lakes Regional, a 12-9 defeat at the hands of Rockport, Ind. The Bears dipped to 19-7 with the setback, while Post 254 improved to 30-1, becoming the last undefeated team in the tournament.
Metro East now faces Bay City, Mich. at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Roy E. Lee Field in Edwardsville. Rockport meets Madison, Wis. at 4 p.m. Madison defeated Beloit, Wis. 1-0 on Friday, while Bay City walloped Shelbyville, Ky. 12-2.
“Six errors,” Post 199/126 manager Ken Schaake said, summarizing his team's loss Friday. “That's the difference and the fact that we had as many walks in the game that we did.”
Rockport manager Jim Haaff thought both teams were a little shaky on Friday, but his squad did enough to survive and remain undefeated. Post 254 left 17 runners on base, committed two errors and walked nine Metro East hitters in the game. The Bears left 11 on base.
“It's one of those things where we got behind and were able to catch up,” Haaff said. “We donated a little bit ourselves and then they turned around and donated a little bit themselves and we were able to take advantage of that. It was a tough ball game and we knew it was going to be. Normally we play a little better defense than what we played tonight and I'm sure they do, too.”
Post 199/126 jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Cole Cimarolli drew a leadoff walk, was sacrificed to second, moved to third on a Jake Garella single and scored on a RBI single by starting pitcher Drake Hampton.
Rockport answered immediately, tying it 1-1 in the second. Sammy Rowan hit a leadoff triple and scored on a RBI base knock by Andrew Hayden.
The Bears leap frogged back on top in the third with a trio of runs. Garella, Hampton and Mitchell Krebs all walked to load the bases and Tyler Stamer punched a two-run single through the left side to make it 3-1. Cole Hansel joined the fun with a two-out single to reload the bases and Krebs raced home on a wild pitch to push the lead to 4-1.
It caused Rockport to go to its bullpen early as Rowan replaced starter Hunter Rowe. Rowan immediately walked Steven Pattan to stuff the bags once more, but Cimarolli fouled out and Collin Clayton smacked a hard liner to center field to end the threat.
“We got the bases loaded and Collin Clayton hits one right on the nose and unfortunately it's chest high right to the center fielder and 15 feet either way and we might be looking at an inside the park home run,” Schaake said. “But it didn't happen that way.”
Haaff thought Rowan settled Post 254 down when he entered on the mound. With Rowan setting down the Metro East hitters, Rockport was able to plate two runs in each of the next three innings to nab a 7-4 lead through six innings.
“The Rowan boy came in from center field and got the game under control,” Haaff said. “He threw three blanks up there that really helped steady the game, but then they started scoring again. He certainly did a nice job for us.”
The Bears dwindled it to 7-5 in the seventh when Garella led off with a single and later scored on a fielder's choice by Krebs.
They climbed to within 9-8 in the eighth with three more runs. Pinch hitter Jaob Kanallakan led off with a single and later scored on a fielder's choice by Clayton. He moved to second on a wild pitch and Garella singled him home. Hampton then reached on an error, which allowed Garella to come around to score. Two errors plagued Rockport in the inning.
Unfortunately Metro East couldn't contain Post 254 in the top of the ninth. Chance Foss came in to pitch and struggled with control, walking in three runs to give Rockport a comfy 12-8 edge. Post 199/126 was able to muster one more run in the ninth, but it wasn't enough for the win.
“Chance has been good at throwing strikes and working and we felt at the part of the order we were in, if he threw strikes — he usually keeps the ball down — we'd be in good shape,” Schaake said. “Unfortunately he didn't get it, but he also felt victim to a couple infield hits where possibly we should have got an out somewhere and we didn't and extended the inning. He was close, but not where he needs to be and we gave them two or three free runs.”
Hampton said the Bears know what they have to do on Saturday, they don't have a choice. In order to play Sunday and get a chance to make it to the World Series they need a win.
“We have no choice but to win,” Hampton said. “None of us want to go home tomorrow, so we're going to come out and try and win a ball game. I definitely think we've got the guys to do it. I think we will be in the championship game on Sunday.”
GREAT LAKES REGIONAL
ROCKPORT 12, METRO EAST BEARS 9
Rockport 010 222 023 — 12 12 2
Metro East 103 000 131 — 9 11 6
Metro East (19-7) — Cole Cimarolli 1-5 BB, Collin Clayton 0-5 RBI, Jake Garella 3-4 BB RBI, Drake Hampton 2-4 BB RBI, Mitchell Krebs 0-4 BB RBI, Tyler Stamer 1-3 2 BBs 2 RBIs, Cole Hansel 1-1 BB, Jacob Kanallakan 1-1, Steven Pattan 2-4 BB RBI.
LP — Hampton 4.1IP 6H 5R 5ER 3BB 4K
Devin Colley 3.0IP 4H 4R 1ER 0BB 1K 2HBP
Jacob St. Peters 0.2IP 0H 0R 0ER 0BB 0K 1HBP
Chance Foss 0.2IP 2H 3R 3ER 4BB 0K
Tate Wargo 0.1IP 0H 0R 0ER 0BB 0K
Rockport (30-1) — Kobe Stephens 0-4 2 BBs 2 RBIs, Trevor Zink 0-6 RBI, Spencer Deom 1-6 , Jakob Shuler 3-6 2B, Sammy Rowan 3-6 3B, Andrew Hayden 1-5 2 RBIs, Chad Meyer 2-2 2B 2 BBs RBI, Caleb Helms 1-3 2 BBs 2 RBIs, Zach Hopewell 1-5 BB 2 RBIs.
WP — Rowan 5.2IP 5H 4R 3ER 2BB 2K
SV — Corey Ehelhar 1.0IP 1H 0R 0ER 0BB 0K
Hunter Rowe 2.1IP 5H 4R 4ER 5BB 1K
Helms 0.0IP 0H 1R 1ER 2BB 0K