NEW BADEN – The quest is to take the Fifth. That’s the goal for the Metro East Bears next week at the American Senior Legion Fifth Division Baseball Tournament in Clinton County.
“We have a solid team and we hope to keep playing well,” Metro East catcher Nick Paulda said. He stroked three doubles in the Bears’ district championship game win over Fairview Heights.
Manager Ken Schaake added, “It has been a molding and leading process to come together. I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids. It has been a true team effort.”
The 22-6 Bears, seeded first in the eight-team tournament, debut at 10:30 Tuesday morning against the Herrin-Carlyle winner. Herrin and Carlyle clash at 10:30 Monday morning in Game 1 of the week-long tourney. Metro East got a bye for being the top seed.
Fairview Heights, which defeated Belleville, 1-0 on Friday for a Fifth Division berth, then faces Murphysboro at 1:30 Monday, Metropolis clashes with Olney at 4:30, followed by Louisville challenging host New Baden at 7:30.
Metro East has the opening game Tuesday. Vandalia, which also received a bye, then meets the Fariview-Murphsyboro winner at 1:30 that day. Other games are scheduled for 4:30 and 7:30 Tuesday.
If Metro East wins its first tournament game, it’ll tangle with the Metropolis-Olney victor at 4:30 Wednesday. Other games are slated for 10:30 a.m., 1:30 and 7:30.
More competition follows at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 4:30 and 7:30 Thursday. If the Bears prevail in their first two games, they will play at 4:30 Thursday. The winner of that game is back in action at 4:30 Friday. Another game will be played at 7:30 that night and could serve as the championship contest.
If one more game is needed in the double-elimination format, it’ll go at 7:30 Saturday night. The Fifth Division champion advances to the state tournament that begins on July 30 in Chicagoland’s Arlington Heights.
The state champ qualifies for next month's Great Lakes Regional in Terre Haute, Ind. Metro East will be playing host to the 2015 and 2016 Great Lakes Regional at Hopkins Field in Moore Park.
It took a pair of wins for the Bears to snare the District 22 playoff title earlier in the week. They defeated Highland, 12-2, and Fairview Heights, 3-1, to capture it. Metro East is 3-0 against Fairview Heights this season.
Fairview, now 27-9, defeated chief rival Belleville three times in eight days to finish second in District 22 and then claim its Fifth Division spot.
Jerseyville, meanwhile, is playing host to the Third Division Tournament next week at Schell Field. Post 492 faces Peoria at 3 p.m. Monday.
Calhoun kicks off the five-team, double-elimination competition at noon Monday against the Quad Cities representative, either Milan or East Moline. Galesburg is also participating in the tourney and has a first-round bye.