Bulldogs advance to regional final

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Noah Thaggard pitches Thursday against Mascoutah. For more photos from the game, click here. (Corey Saathoff photo)

Noah Thaggard worked quickly and effectively, pitching Waterloo to the final of the Class 3A Freeburg Regional with a complete game 6-1 win over Mascoutah on Thursday.

“Noah was in complete control after the first two hitters,” Waterloo head coach Mark Vogel said. “He’s got good stuff and continued his recent stretch of good pitching.”

Thaggard allowed just four hits and struck out seven Mascoutah hitters in the victory. The Indians never really threatened until a seventh-inning home run by Wyatt Elbe broke up the shutout.

Bulldogs senior Ryan Aycock came through with a single that plated two in the bottom of the third inning. He is hitting .417 on the spring.

“Ryan’s got a ton of experience, having played three sports in high school. His calming presence makes him a leader for us,” Vogel said.

Waterloo added RBI singles by Erik Kaiser and Cole Kaiping in the fifth inning, after which Mascoutah’s pitching went south and walked in two more runs with the bases loaded to make it 6-0.

Kane Osterhage added a couple of hits for the ‘Dogs and made a diving catch at shortstop in the win.

Waterloo (23-12) will now face host team Freeburg at 4:30 p.m. Monday for the regional championship. The game rescheduled from Saturday due to rainy condition. The ‘Dogs dropped a regular season contest to the Midgets.

“They’re obviously a good ball club with quality hitting at the top of the order,” Vogel said. “We’ll have to play well and not beat ourselves. This is why you coach and play, to be in an atmosphere like this.”

The Bulldogs will go with senior ace left-hander Corey Vogel on the mound against the Midgets, who are 27-5.

Waterloo is playing the postseason without leading hitter Tyler McAlister, who is serving a suspension for disciplinary reasons.

Columbia falls to Freeburg
The Eagles ended their season Wednesday with an 8-6 loss at the hands of Freeburg in the regional semifinals.

Columbia senior Zach Mathews started the scoring with a two-run homer to give his team the early momentum. But Freeburg hit the ball hard early and often, scoring four in the second inning to excite the home crowd.

“We had chances throughout the game, but just couldn’t string a few hits together,” Columbia head coach Keith Jany said.

Freeburg led 8-2 in the seventh inning when the Eagles mounted a rally, scoring four runs before finally falling at the end.

“I am very proud of my guys on how hard they battled at the end, never giving up,” Jany said. “We didn’t get it done today, but they had a terrific season, winning 21 games, and battling to the very end. I’m proud of them for that.”

Mathews went 2-for-4 in the game, and Ryan Gudeman added two hits for the Eagles. Brendan Wilhelm took the loss on the mound.

Keegan Baxmeyer went 3-for-4 with a home run to pace the Freeburg offense.

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