‘Dogs advance to sectional baseball final

Waterloo's Noah Thaggard pitches in the recent Monroe County Tournament. (Alan Dooley photo)
Waterloo’s Noah Thaggard pitches during the recent Monroe County Tournament. (Alan Dooley photo)

Senior righthander Noah Thaggard followed up Waterloo’s pair of postseason no-hitters with a gem of his own Wednesday, throwing a complete game one-hitter in the Bulldogs’ 8-0 win over Marion in the Class 3A Triad Sectional semifinals.

Waterloo (27-6) will now play Freeburg for the sectional championship at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The Midgets topped Mount Vernon on Thursday, 11-0.

Thaggard mixed in an effective slider with pinpoint fastball location to strike out nine Marion batters on the day — seven on called third strikes. He improved to 8-1 on the season.

Bulldog pitching has allowed just one hit over 19 postseason innings. Three pitchers combined for a five-inning perfect game last Wednesday against Cahokia to begin regional play. Tyler McAlister threw a 1-0 no-hitter last Saturday against rival Columbia for the regional title.

“Our pitching staff is what carries this team, day-in and day-out,” Waterloo head coach Mark Vogel said.

A six-run second inning put Waterloo in command early against Marion. The key blow was a three-run triple off the wall in left field by slugger Jordan McFarland.

McAlister added a double and two singles with three RBIs on the day.

“We were one player away from beating them… that player was (Chicago Cubs ace pitcher) Jake Arrieta,” Marion head baseball coach Marty Manfredo joked to reporters after the game.

Waterloo has played Freeburg previously this season, losing 3-2 at Freeburg on April 4.

The winner of Saturday’s sectional championship game will play in the supersectional at GCS Ballpark on Monday for the chance to advance to the state tourney.

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