EDWARDSVILLE — The Metro East Lutheran Knights played host to the East Alton-Wood River Oilers on Monday in a play-in game of the Class 1A Dupo Regional at Martin Luther Field in Edwardsville and put an end to the Oilers' roller-coaster season after claiming a 6-1 victory.
EA-WR finalized its season with a 4-32 record, while the Knights improved to 12-15 with the win. MELHS now plays Wesclin at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Dupo.
"I don't think we played bad overall today," EA-WR head coach Kyle Duncan said. "We put the ball in play and we were able to come up with some tough plays the Knights put up. We are still pretty young and our younger guys are stepping up every day. I think we're going to be alright next year, we have some pretty good kids coming up."
The Oilers went down a run early when MELHS' Nick Manker climbed aboard with a double to left field. He crossed the plate, putting the Knights up 1-0, scoring on a wild pitch.
EA-WR was kept scoreless, but put the reins on MELHS until the fourth inning. The Knights went on a two-out rally when Andrew Jones skated across to make it 2-0 on a wild pitch by EA-WR. Paul Kubicek put himself in the right place at the right time while holding down the bag at second. Kubicek screened the grounder off the bat of Brad Boivin which found its way into left center. The error on Boivin's grounder scored both Kubicek and Jordan Brown to extend the Knights' lead to 4-0.
The Knights damage wasn't done. They tacked on more in the bottom of the fifth inning. A second two-out rally in as many innings, extended the MELHS lead when Sam Whitmore climbed aboard with a single to center and pitcher Alex Peck helped his own cause with a RBI single to right field to score Whitmore. Peck then scored on a wild pitch to put the Knights up 6-0 going into the sixth.
Peck shut EA-WR down with three outs on three pitches in the top of the sixth, but pitcher Blake Marks and the Oilers were able to contain MELHS without anymore damage in the home half of the sixth.
EA-WR finally struck in the top of the seventh on a double to right center field by junior Blake Weishaupt. Junior Chris Hamby hit the same spot as his teammate to send Weishaupt across home plate to avoid the shutout, but that was all the Oilers could muster.
"I think we played real well with every aspect of the game looking really good today," MELHS head coach Joel Rempfer said. "As a coach this is exactly what you'd look for. We had good pitching, good, timely hitting and sharp defense. All around I couldn't ask for a better team effort than what they gave me today. We talked before the beginning of the game about not beating ourselves today. If the Oilers came out here and beat us, we'd tip our hats to them, but the last thing we wanted to do was allow our own defense to beat us."
METRO EAST LUTHERAN 6, EAST ALTON-WOOD RIVER 1
EA-WR 000 000 1 — 1
MELHS 100 320 X — 6
MELHS (12-15) — Nick Manker 2-4, Sam Whitmore 1-3, Alex Peck 1-3 RBI, Paul Kubicek 1-3, Jordan Brown 1-3 RBI, Brad Boivin 2 RBIs.
WP-Alex Peck 7IP, 4K, 0BB, 1R, 2H, 1ER
EA-WR: Blake Weishaupt 1-3, Chris Hamby 1-3 RBI
LP-Blake Marks 6IP, 3K, 4BB, 6H, 6R, 3ER