American Legion teams end successful summer seasons

Pictured, Valmeyer third baseman Dustin Crawford elevates to make a throw across the diamond during Friday’s win over Carrier Mills in the Fifth Division Tournament. For more photos from the game, click here. (Corey Saathoff photo)

Local American Legion baseball teams recently ended their seasons in the playoffs, with the Valmeyer Junior Legion squad advancing the farthest.

The Post 901 juniors hosted the Fifth Division Tournament at Borsch Park this past weekend, going 1-2 to complete their season with a record of 17-10.

Valmeyer defeated Carrier Mills, 12-2, to open tourney play on Friday. Gibson Sippel pitched a complete game, striking out four and walking four. Post 901 only had seven hits but took advantage of nine walks and a hit batsman. 

Dustin Crawford led the way offensively, going 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI. Riley McCarthy went 1-for-2 with four RBIs and a sacrifice fly.

Post 901 faced a tough Teutopolis team early Saturday and lost 6-3. Down 3-0 after two innings, Valmeyer’s Sam Huebner scored on an errant throw by the catcher on a wild pitch in the third. McCarthy scored on a hit by Sippel to make it 3-2 in the sixth.

Teutopolis proved too strong in the end, however.

Valmeyer ended its season with an 8-3 loss to Effingham on Saturday afternoon. Jacob Rowold tripled to right in the first and scored on a hit by McCarthy.

Post 901 scored two more in the second for a 3-0 lead. Huebner singled, stole second, reached third on a pitcher’s error on a pickoff attempt and scored on a wild pitch. With two outs, Rowold tripled again and scored on McCarthy’s hit. 

Unfortunately that was the end of the offense for Valmeyer, which managed just one more hit the rest of the way. Effingham plated three runs in the bottom of the second and two each in the third and fourth innings, with a final run in the fifth.

Highland 1 and Teutopolis both advanced out of the tourney and will play at the state tournament taking place this weekend.

The postseason got underway earlier in the month.

The Valmeyer Post 901 Junior American Legion team defeated Columbia and Highland to win the District 22 Tournament played July 21-22 at Alton.

The Post 901 juniors opened District 22 tourney play July 21 against Columbia, winning 13-0. Sippel allowed just three hits with five strikeouts for the mound victory. Mitchell Kohnz collected two hits and three RBIs in the second inning when Valmeyer scored six runs. John Fausz duplicated the feat in the fifth as Post 901 scored seven more runs. Fausz had a single and a three-RBI double.

Columbia won its second game of the tourney, 3-2, in nine innings against Alton. Jake Steve came through with the walk-off hit for Post 581. He also went the distance on the mound in the victory.

The Post 581 juniors ended their inaugural season, however, with a 3-1 loss in 10 innings to Highland 2. Columbia finished with an overall record of 12-9.

On July 22, Valmeyer managed only singles by Sam Fitzwilliam and Rowold  against Highland 2, but both came in the third inning as Highland committed four errors and hit a batter and Post 901 scored five unearned runs. 

Crawford pitched a complete game, allowing eight hits with eight strikeouts and a walk. Highland scored runs in the sixth and seventh innings, but Valmeyer won 5-2.

Highland 1 forfeited the championship game, giving Valmeyer the title for the second straight year. Valmeyer received an automatic berth to the division tournament as hosts, with Highland 1 also earning a spot.

McCarthy led the Post 901 juniors with a 391 batting average, .623 slugging percentage, six triples and 28 RBIs.

On the mound, Crawford was 4-1 with a 1.42 ERA, followed by Jake Kempfer at 3-0 with a 2.23 ERA and Sippel at 4-3 with a 1.30 ERA.

Senior legion update
The Valmeyer Post 901 Senior American Legion squad ended its season earlier in July with losses in the District 22 Tournament.

Valmeyer lost to Alton, 2-0, and Edwardsville, 5-4, to end its season at 13-12.

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