The postseason has arrived for the Mon-Clair League, with two weekends of baseball action to determine this year’s champion.
The Millstadt Green Machine and St. Louis Spikes placed first in the Monroe and St. Clair divisions, respectively, following regular season play.
Millstadt (17-7) placed just ahead of Valmeyer (16-8), who split a doubleheader with Belleville on Wednesday to conclude its regular season. The Lakers lost 2-1 and won 11-8.
The Waterloo Millers (11-12) and Belleville Rockies (9-15) rounded out the Monroe Division regular season standings. Waterloo ended its regular season Wednesday with a 3-1 win at the St. Louis Printers.
The league playoffs begin Saturday with nine-inning games in Belleville for the Monroe Division (Illinois teams) and Jackson, Mo., for the St. Clair Division (Missouri teams).
In Belleville, Millstadt will battle Belleville at noon and Waterloo will battle Valmeyer at 3 p.m.
The winners of those games will battle in the semifinals at 2 p.m. Sunday.
In Jackson, Mo., the Southeast Missouri Tropics will battle the Spikes and the Printers will take on Cape Girardeau this Saturday, with the winners battling in the semifinals on Sunday.
The two remaining teams from games this weekend will meet in the best-of-three Mon-Clair League championship series Aug. 14-15 at Borsch Park in Valmeyer.
Millstadt went 3-2 in recent action.
Last Wednesday, the Green Machine won 13-2 over Belleville.
On Saturday, Millstadt split a pair with Waterloo.
In game one, the Millers outlasted the Green Machine, 2-1. Waterloo ace lefty Matt McGilvray pitched five shutout innings to improve his season record to 4-0 with a microscopic 0.63 ERA.
Jake Schneider and Adam Goss both collected hits and scored in the third inning for the Millers, who spoiled a strong outing by Millstadt starter Andrew Yancik. He allowed only three hits on the day.
In game two, Waterloo scored two in the first inning but Millstadt plated one in the third, one in the fifth and celebrated after a walk-off hit in the seventh off the bat of Joey Kossina.
He went 3-for-4 and Logan Boente picked up the mound victory.
On Sunday, Millstadt dropped a contest that was a continuance of an earlier game with Belleville. The final score was 19-11. Joey Kossina went 4-for-5 with four runs and Dillon Sunnquist went 3-for-3 with two RBIs for the Green Machine.
Also on Sunday, the Green Machine won 2-1 and 8-2 over the Tropics.
Joey Kossina struck again, going 2-for-4 with the game-winning walk-off hit in the first game. Garrett Herring pitched a complete game two-hitter to improve to 4-0 with a 2.36 ERA.
In game two, Joey Kossina went 3-for-5 with an RBI and also pitched five innings for the win.
The younger brother of fellow Millstadt standouts Tony and Cal, Joey leads the Mon-Clair League in hitting this season at .556 and is 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA on the mound.
Sunnquist is ninth in the league in hitting at .415.
Prior to Saturday’s doubleheader split with Millstadt, Waterloo lost 4-3 to the Printers last Wednesday.
Tom Purschke, Kade Burns and Keegan Baxmeyer had two hits each for the Millers. Baxmeyer leads Waterloo in hitting this season at .439.
The Lakers won 5-2 in nine innings over the Spikes on Thursday, scoring three runs in the top of the ninth to break a tie.
Ethan Ruff went 3-for-5 with a run, with John Wuelling and Marcus Heusohn adding two hits each for Valmeyer. Heusohn, a lefty, picked up the mound victory with four and one-third innings pitched and just an unearned run allowed.
On Friday, Valmeyer won 4-0 and 3-0 at Cape Girardeau. Jakob Rhoderick won the first game with five shutout innings. Heusohn went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Wuelling and Cole Juelfs added two hits each.
In game two, Trevor Davis threw a complete game five-hit shutout with seven strikeouts and also went 2-for-2 with a run. Dustin Crawford added a hit and two RBIs.
The Lakers have three hitters in the league’s top 10 entering the playoffs: Ruff is third at .500, Davis is fifth at .440 and Matt Reinholz is eighth at .420.
Valmeyer righty Drake Downing is among the top pitchers with an ERA of 1.69 to go along with his 1-1 record.