TROY – Civic Memorial’s bid to win the outright baseball title in the Mississippi Valley Conference came up short Friday.
One run shy, to be exact.
Host Triad fended off the Eagles, 10-9, and denied CM an opportunity for its first undisputed MVC championship since 2010. Instead, they settled for a share of it. The Eagles, 17-14 overall, finished 6-4 in the Valley and tied with Highland and Waterloo for first place. Triad, 7-21 and 2-8, ended CM’s eight-game winning streak on a rainy afternoon.
“We didn’t give up and we had some great at-bats in the seventh inning,” CM coach Gary Bruening said of a four-run uprising. “I thought we had some great at-bats the whole game.
He added, “But you have to win a high school game when you score nine runs. We pretty much got what we deserved and we didn’t deserve to win.”
The Knights scored five runs in the first inning and made the Eagles try and catch them the rest of the way. They nearly did it after trailing 9-3 following four innings and 10-5 after six.
CM strung together four runs in the seventh and threatened to take the lead with two outs. However, the Knights’ snared Caleb Buhs’ fly ball to deep right center to end it. The Eagles had the tying run on second base and the lead run on first when Buhs’ drive died before it reached the fence. Overall, the Eagles stranded eight.
“Caleb got under it a little bit and the ball didn’t carry,” Bruening said.
Triad coach Jesse Bugger enjoyed seeing the Knights close out their conference slate on a high note. Once 0-8 in the MVC, they defeated Jersey before knocking off CM.
“We’ve been playing better lately,” Bugger said. “Before that, it was a little bit of everything that was hurting us, though our pitching has been steady. We’ve been lacking the big hit.”
Leadoff batter John McGee gave the Knights plenty of big hits against CM. He went 3-for-3 and reached base four times. Nick Rosenthal contributed three hits, while Will Mauer collected two hits and a pair of RBIs. Kevin Smith belted a three-run triple in Triad’s big first inning.
Starting pitcher Brendon Hampton (5-1) absorbed the loss, though three of Triad’s first-inning runs – and four overall – were unearned. Hampton helped his cause with a hit and two RBIs. He reached base three times.
Jaxsen Helmkamp, John Whitworth, Lukas Jones and Devin Daniels all had two hits for the Eagles, who out hit the Knights, 13-12. Corey Price added a run-scoring single in the seventh, when CM had six runners reach base.
“We played badly, but give Triad credit for the way they played,” Bruening said. “It just was a bad time for us to play one of our worst games of the years.
“I didn’t see this coming.”
It’ll be CM paired with Triad, Highland, Marquette Catholic and Jersey in the Class 3A Panthers Regional starting May 25. Jersey is seeded first, followed by Highland, CM, Marquette and Triad. The Explorers and Knights meet at 1 p.m. on Monday, May 25, in a play-in game.
“It’s a tossup going in the regional,” Bruening said. “If we play in the regional like we played today, it will be a short regional for us.”
Bugger noted, “It looks like the regional will be up for grabs. We will try to be the best team we can be on Memorial Day.”
Waterloo and Mascoutah are cast in the Freeburg Regional. The Indians joined Jersey at finishing 5-5 in the Valley, or one game behind tri-champs CM, Highland Waterloo.
“There’s not a dominant team in the conference,” Bugger said.
TRIAD 10, CM 9
CM 102 011 4 – 9 13 2
Triad 510 301 X – 10 12 1
CM (17-4, 6-4) – Hampton 1-3 RBI-2, Jones 2-5 2B, RBI, Buhs 1-4 2B RBI, Daniels 2-4 2B, Bryant 1-3 RBI, Whitworth 2-3 RBI, Price 1-4 RBI, Andrus 1-4 RBI, Helmkamp 2-4 2B. LP – Hampton IP-3.1 H-5 R-7 ER-4 BB-3 K-1; Walker IP-1.3 H-3 R-2 ER-1 BB-0 K-0; Andrus IP-1 H-1 R-1 ER-1 BB-0 K-1.
Triad (7-21, 2-8) – McGee 3-3, McGrath 1-3, Funk 1-2 RBI, Rosenthal 3-4 RBI, Mauer 2-3 RBI-2, Kraabel 1-3, Smith 1-4 2B RBI-3. WP – Ratulowski IP-6 H-9 R-6 ER-6 BB-3 K-3; Kraabel IP-1 H-4 R-3 ER-3 BB-1 K-0