Valmeyer Jr. Legion falls at state

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Valmeyer pitcher Dustin Crawford throws to first during a game earlier this summer against Bethalto.

The Valmeyer Post 901 Junior American Legion baseball squad ended an exciting season with a 1-2 showing in the state tournament played at Sherrard High School over the weekend.

With the number of games to be played in such a short period of time, Post 901 tried to conserve its pitching.

Valmeyer opened the eight-team double-elimination tourney with a 5-0 win over Eureka on Thursday. 

Dustin Crawford and Jacob Rowold combined for the shutout on the mound for Post 901. Crawford allowed two hits over four innings and Rowold allowed one hit in three innings.

Valmeyer collected only five hits for the game, but four came in a clutch fourth inning.

Riley McCarthy opened with a hit and scored on Crawford’s double. Henry Weber reached on an error and Gibson Sippel singled to load the bases. Sam Huebner’s suicide squeeze bunt scored Crawford and Huebner reached first on a late throw to the plate. John Fausz then laced a double down the third base line to drive in three runs. 

Crawford added an RBI single in the fifth inning.

On Friday, Valmeyer faced District 22 rival Bethalto and lost 17-5. Post 901 plated two runs in the first, but this day belonged to Bethalto – the eventual tourney champion. 

With pitch count limitations, Valmeyer needed to win its next game to be in good shape for a stretch run. Things seemed to be going Valmeyer’s way early in Saturday’s contest against Wheaton. 

Sam Fitzwilliam pitched well, allowing only one hit in the first six innings. 

Clutch hits by Crawford, Sippel and Rowold led to a 6-1 lead for Post 901 through four innings. 

Valmeyer stranded six runners over the next two innings, however, and that proved to be critical.

Wheaton scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning on four hits, an error and two walks to send the game into extra innings.

Post 901 didn’t score in the top of the eighth, and Wheaton used an error, walk and two hits for a 7-6 victory.

Valmeyer ended its season with a record of 17-7.

The top hitters for Post 901 this summer were Rowold (.473 average, .658 on base percentage, 18 stolen bases, 29 runs), Crawford (.429 average, 15 RBIs), McCarthy (.419 average, three home runs, 27 RBIs, 24 runs) and Weber (.338 average, nine doubles, 16 RBIs, 17 runs).

The top pitchers were Huebner (4-0, 2.15 ERA), Crawford (3-0, 1.64 ERA), Rowold (3-2, 1.80 ERA) and Sippel (3-1, 2.79 ERA).

As a team, Valmeyer hit .284 on the season and its pitching staff compiled a 3.33 ERA.

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