O'FALLON — After their St. Louis Amateur Baseball Association season came to an end on Tuesday, the Granite City Warriors are already setting their sights on preparing for the 2016 high school baseball season.
"We're for sure going to improve 100 percent," Granite City right fielder Jake Frievogel said. "In the offseason, everyone's going to be in the room working, weightlifting, swinging, throwing and everything. Everyone's working this summer and the winter."
The Warriors were eliminated from the 17-and-under SLABA double-elimination tournament after losing 4-1 to the Easton Tigers in a loser's bracket game at Blazier Field. Granite City finished 0-2 in the playoffs.
The Tigers, who lost to Bethalto in their opening-round game on Monday, scored three runs in the first and one in the fourth.
"We started out rough in the first inning," Granite City catcher B.J. Niesporek said. "We're just going to take it into the offseason and grind hard."
Granite City, which began the playoffs with a 10-3 loss to O'Fallon on Sunday at Lutheran North High School, scored its only run with two outs in the top of the ninth, when left fielder Colin Barrett scored on a throwing error by Tigers' third baseman Andrew Turbeck.
"It was a lot closer of a game than what it seemed like from that first inning," Niesporek said. "We definitely needed that run for sure."
Billy Heil drove in all of the runs for the Tigers. He hit a three-run homer with one out in the bottom of the first and an RBI single with two out in the bottom of the fourth.
Tigers left-hander Jack Feisenberger pitched the complete-game victory, giving up two hits and striking out nine. Frievogel and shortstop Latrell Smith got the only hits for the Warriors.
"That lefty is good," Frievogel said. "He knows how to locate the ball and he throws it in there."
Feisenberger had retired 12 batters in a row before Barrett reached on a fielding error by Tigers' shortstop Michael Stendebeck. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a single by Frievogel.
Then, Turbeck fielded a ground ball hit by Granite City designated hitter Clay Caldwell and his throw got past first baseman Mike Barry, allowing Barrett to score.
The game — and the Warriors' season — came to an end when first baseman Jacob Grayson was called out on strikes with runners on second and third.
The Warriors wrapped up their second season in the SLABA, which has 16 teams from Illinois and Missouri. The Warriors’ 17-and-under team is comprised of mostly juniors and sophomores from the Granite City baseball team.
"I love it because I like more competition," said Frievogel, who will be a senior this year. "They're not in our conference, so we don't see them a lot and I like new teams. I like new challenges. We come out here and we don't know what they got and I like to see new stuff."
Niesporek, who will be a junior this year, said SLABA helps prepare his team for the high school baseball season. The Warriors finished with 10 wins during the 2015 spring season.
"It shows you what you've got for next year and shows you what you've got to work on," the Granite City catcher said. "We've got to work on our pitching and hitting our spots every time. Once we get that down, we're going to be a good team."