Baseball teams enter stretch run

Waterloo pitcher Drake Downing is 5-1 on the season with a 2.03 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 41.3 innings 

The high school baseball season has entered its seventh-inning stretch with conference play wrapping up and regionals looming.

Gibault (19-7) is trying to end its regular season on a winning note prior to the start of Class 1A Okawville Regional play next week. 

The Hawks will take on the winner of Mulberry Grove vs. Lebanon on May 15.

Gibault won 7-1 over Metro-East Lutheran on Monday, scoring four runs in the fifth inning and twice in the seventh to pull away late. Cam Kincheloe went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Max Kostelac added a hit and two RBIs.

Mark Branz struck out 11, walked only one and surrendered one hit in a complete game win.

Gibault hosted Highland on Tuesday, hosts Carlyle on Friday and will play at Valmeyer on Saturday morning to end the regular season. 

In addition to his 5-0 mound mark and 2.50 ERA, Branz is hitting .432 with 16 doubles, 22 RBIs and 32 runs. 

Austin Sweeney is hitting .427 with 34 runs. Cole Buckner is hitting .423 with a team-high 29 RBIs.

Tim Reinholz is 3-2 on the mound with a 4.35 ERA and is hitting .341 with 22 RBIs and 17 stolen bases.

Valmeyer (13-14) will begin Class 1A New Athens Regional play May 15 against the winner of Dupo vs. Marissa.

The Pirates won 15-7 over Lebanon on Monday. Valmeyer got off to a 12-0 lead after two innings and cruised from there.

Philip Reinhardt went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and Henry Weber added three hits.

Riley McCarthy added two triples for the Pirates, who hosted Marissa on Tuesday and play Lebanon on Friday before hosting Gibault on Saturday.

McCarthy leads the Pirates with a .455 average to go along with 10 doubles, 30 RBIs and 27 runs.

Logan Seidler is hitting .385 with 30 RBIs and 20 runs.

Reinhardt is hitting .358 with 24 runs and is 4-1 on the mound with a 1.60 ERA.

Dupo (5-12) won 3-2 over Red Bud on Monday. The Tigers scored two in the bottom of the seventh inning to emerge victorious.

Trey Hooker and Jacob Potts each had RBI singles for the Tigers and Kaleb Chism picked up the mound victory with three strong innings of relief.

Dupo plays at Marissa on Wednesday, at Alton on Thursday and at Red Bud on Friday.

Devin Similey leads the Tigers offense with a .333 average and six doubles.

For Class 3A schools Waterloo and Columbia, the regionals are still a couple of weeks off. Both teams have a tough slate of games to end the regular season in preparation for what looks to be a competitive postseason.

Waterloo (14-7) won 3-1 over Jerseyville on Monday. Marcus Heusohn homered and Trey Kueper went 3-for-3 for the Bulldogs. 

Drake Downing struck out 10 and allowed just three hits in six strong innings pitched.

On Friday, Waterloo topped Mt. Vernon, 4-1, at GCS Ballpark in Sauget. Logan Hopfinger and Josh Wittenauer collected two hits each and Dustin Crawford allowed one earned run in a complete game mound victory.

Waterloo battled O’Fallon on Tuesday, plays at Civic Memorial on Wednesday and travels to Granite City on Friday.

Ty Kueper leads the Bulldogs offense with a .509 average, nine doubles and 14 RBIs.

Wittenauer is next at .355 with 18 runs and eight stolen bases.

Crawford is hitting .353 with 13 RBIs and is 7-2 on the mound with a 2.26 ERA.

Heusohn is hitting .352 with four home runs and 16 RBIs.

Downing is 5-1 on the mound with a 2.03 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 41.3 innings.

Columbia (18-5) came through with a 1-0 victory at Triad on Saturday. Senior pitching ace Shane Wilhelm threw a complete game one-hitter with nine strikeouts to lead the Eagles to victory.

The Eagles hosted Carlyle on Tuesday, host Collinsville on Wednesday and host Breese Central on Thursday.

Sam Horner leads Columbia with a .408 average to go along with 18 RBIs and 29 runs. 

AJ Mueller is hitting .402 with four home runs and 32 RBIs.

Nic Horner is hitting .369 with 21 runs, followed by Josh Marion at .338 with 33 runs and 14 stolen bases.

Wilhelm is 6-1 on the mound with a 1.11 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 44 innings.

Logan Denison is 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.

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