Ray Bailey pitched a four-hit shutout and struck out 12 in a 3-0 win over Carlyle in the American Senior Legion Fifth Division Baseball Tournament on Tuesday, July 22.
NEW BADEN – They opened with a bang Tuesday in the American Senior Legion Fifth Division Baseball Tournament here in Clinton County.
And the Metro East Bears can thank Ray Bailey and Jordan Briggs for their rollicking start. They guided the Bears by Carlyle, 3-0, on Tuesday afternoon.
Bailey pitched a four-hit shutout, striking out 12 along the way. Briggs smacked a two-run home run in the sixth inning to keep the Bears going. They grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Kyle Zach’s run-scoring single.
“The importance of winning the first game in this tournament is huge,” Metro East manager Ken Schaake said. “We have to win four games to win the tournament and we won the first one and saved our pitching.”
It was Bailey doing the saving. He hurled a complete game, making 129 pitches in silencing 16-12 Carlyle. Metro East improved to 23-6 and the Bears are 21-0 when their pitchers have allowed two runners or less per game.
“Ken (Schaake) talked to me after I was over 100 pitches and I told him I was fine,” Bailey said. “It wasn’t like my arm was getting tired.”
Schaake said, “How do you take the ball away from a guy who battled like that all day long?”
Metro East is scheduled to play Olney at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in the weeklong tournament. Olney defeated Metropolis, 4-3, in its tourney opener. The Fifth Division champ qualifies for the state tournament at Arlington Heights next week.
“They are a good team and they got the hits when they needed them,” Carlyle manager Kory Peppenhorst said of the Bears. “I thought our pitcher (Matt Hilmes) threw well, but he made a mistake up and in on the home run pitch.”
Briggs said, “When I hit the pitch, it felt good off the bat.”
Schaake added, “That home run was a big hit because — from a managerial standpoint — a 3-0 game is different from a 1-0 one.”
Bailey said, “That was a really big hit by Jordan.”
Then it was up to Bailey to finish what he started and he did that in his most impressive outing of the season.
“I was trying to pound the strike zone and get outs,” he said.
Carlyle’s Peppenhorst noted, “He (Bailey) was throwing a lot of strikes and mixing his fastball well with his changeup. We had guys on base but couldn’t get the big hit.”
Schaake said Tommy Flack, Casey Fair and Dalton Archer are among the candidates to pitch against Olney. There’s a possibility the Bears could get another game with District 22 rival Fairview Heights at 4:30 Thursday.
The finals are scheduled for Friday night or Saturday night, if needed.
Elsewhere in Senior Legion play, Jerseyville was ousted from the Third Division Tournament at Schell Park. Post 492, which lost to Peoria, 9-1, on Monday, then eliminated Calhoun 4-1 on Tuesday morning. However, Jerseyville fell to East Moline late Tuesday night for its second defeat in the double-elimination competition.
Galesburg is unbeaten, while Peoria and East Moline each have a loss in division action.
In Junior Legion play, Alton lost to Highland 5-4 and bowed out of the District 22 tournament at Bethalto. Belleville and Highland will join host Bethalto in the Fifth Division tourney at the Bethalto Sports Complex.