BELLEVILLE – Parker Beine of Belleville puts the brakes on Metro East’s winning ways Tuesday in American Senior Legion District 22 baseball.
He fired a four-hitter and the Hilgards topped the Bears, 3-1, in a key league game at Whitey Herzog Field. In the process, Beine denied Metro East an opportunity to win the regular-season title. The loss also ended its six-game win streak.
The Bears still lead the seven-team league with a 9-1 record. They are 16-4 overall. Belleville is 23-5 and 6-2. And the Hilgards meets the Bears again in a 7:30 game Monday at Hopkins Field in Moore Park.
“Beine was locked in early and he pounded the strike zone,” Belleville manager Zach Rakowski said. Beine struck out seven and gave up two hits to Drew Curtis, including an RBI single in the sixth.
“Curtis put together some great at-bats,” Rakowski said.
Belleville, which scored an unearned run in the fourth against Metro East’s Ray Bailey — the losing pitcher — added two more runs in the sixth. Corey Renois’ double, Bryce Richter’s sacrifice fly and John Dozier’s RBI infield hit gave Beine some breathing room.
“He (Beine) got ahead in the count and pitched well, but so did Bailey,” Metro East manager Ken Schaake said. “It was a good game. But we made a couple of mistakes in the field and didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we had.”
Schaake said snaring the league championship and securing home-field advantage for the district playoffs is a top priority.
“It’s not over yet. We still have an opportunity to win the league,” he said.
Rakowski added, “Any time you play them (Bears), it’s a game that means a lot in the league standings.”
Following the rematch with Belleville on Monday, the Bears are scheduled to close their league play Wednesday at Collinsville. The Illinois-Missouri All-Star game is set for next Tuesday at GCS Ballpark in Sauget.
This weekend, Metro East will serve as one of three sites for the 15-team Firecracker Tournament. The Bears welcome Bryant, Ark., at 10 a.m. Friday and then entertain Eureka, Mo., at 7:30 that night. Jerseyville and St. Charles, Mo. are also in that group – Pool A – at Hopkins Field.
“We’ll play some good competition and it will be a good experience for us,” Schaake said of the tournament.
It’s Morgantown, W. Va.; Ballwin, Mo.; Mattoon and Texarkana, Ark., cast together with host Belleville in Pool B at Herzog Field. Washington, West O’Fallon, Mo.; Jefferson City, Mo.; and North Little Rock, Ark., are linked with host Fairview Heights in Pool C at Longacre Park.
Pool play continues all day Saturday at the three venues. Jerseyville and Metro East are scheduled to clash at 7:30 Saturday night in the final game of Pool A.
Semifinals begin at 11 a.m. Sunday in Longacre Park. The championship game is tentatively slated for 3:30 there.