Photo by Caleb Motsinger
Recent Civic Memorial graduate Tommy Flack fires a pitch in the third inning of Thursday's game against Smithton. The Metro East Bears are 11-4 so far this season.
ALTON – Tommy Flack was at it again Thursday in another stout pitching performance for the Metro East Bears.
The Civic Memorial High graduate improved to 4-0 as the Bears defeated visiting Smithton, 4-1, in a Senior Legion baseball game at Moore Park. Metro East, which has won eight of its last nine games, is 11-4 overall and 5-1 in District 22 play. Smithton is 2-4 and 0-3.
Flack, earning his third league win of the season, allowed a first-inning run, then held Smithton scoreless the rest of the way. He struck out three, walked two and gave up seven hits.
“After the first inning, he really settled down,” Bears’ manager Ken Schaake said. “He got his breaking ball over the plate more consistently and the defense made some good plays behind him.”
Auggie Ward of Smithton stroked a first-inning RBI double and the visitors had runners at second and third with none out. Yet Flack worked out of trouble and yielded just five hits after that.
“I was working on my mechanics a little bit and then I started to get my pitches going,” Flack said of his opening-inning adjustments. “I kept my focus.”
Ray Bailey doubled home a run to tie things in the third. Jacob Skrabacz contributed a run-scoring single in the fourth and Nick Paulda added an RBI triple in the fifth. Austin Stilts also drove in a run during that two-run fifth.
Bailey went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks. Metro East made the most of five hits. On Wednesday, Bailey worked six shutout innings in limiting Highland to two hits in a 5-0 victory.
“I was getting a lot of defense behind me,” Bailey said of his strong pitching outing. He said Flack followed it with another successful showing.
Bailey added, “It’s not how you start the game; it’s how you finish. And he (Flack) settled down really well after the first inning.”
Metro East is scheduled to welcome Festus, Mo., at 8 tonight. The Bears go to Smithton for a 4 p.m. game Saturday and Troy for another 4 p.m. game Sunday. Then they will play host to Fairview Heights at 7:30 Monday.
Next weekend, the Bears will participate in their 15-team Firecracker Tournament. Games will be played July 4-6 at Moore Park, Longacre Park in Fairview Heights and Whitey Herzog Field in Belleville. Metro East is cast in the five-team Pool A that includes Jerseyville, Bryant, Ark.; St. Charles, Mo.; and Eureka, Mo.
The tourney championship game is set for 3:30 p.m. Sunday, July 6, at Fairview Heights.