HIGHLAND – Jake Garella did it all Monday for the Metro East Bears in an American Senior Legion District 22 baseball game at Glik Park.
And thanks to Garella’s performance, the Post 126/Post 199 Bears moved to within one win of clinching the regular-season district title.
He went 4-for-4 and pitched six strong innings in a 5-2 win at Optimist Field. The 10-3 Bears, who improved to 2-1 in league play, swept Highland this summer and can win the league championship tonight. Highland fell to 8-7 and 1-2.
Metro East plays host to Belleville in an 8 p.m. game at SIUE’s Roy Lee field and a victory will give the Bears first place in the three-team district. The district champion earns the top seed for the league playoffs, scheduled to begin Tuesday, July 12.
The Hilgards defeated the Bears, 4-3, last week in Belleville.
Garella, an Edwardsville High graduate and Saint Louis University recruit, stroked two doubles, a pair of singles and knocked in two runs against Highland. The Bears scored three times in the fifth to pad a 1-0 lead and never looked back.
In two league games, Garella is 8-for-8 and overall, he has nine consecutive hits.
On the mound, Garella worked six innings, allowing five hits while striking out seven and walking one. Maverick McSparin pitched the final inning.
Collin Clayton contributed a run-scoring double, Drake Hampton provided a RBI single and Jacob Kanallakan added a sacrifice fly for the Bears. Highland’s Austin Gusewelle had three hits and knocked in a run.