Lakers stun Millers, advance to Mon-Clair finals

The Valmeyer Lakers celebrate after their 4-3 win over Waterloo on Saturday. (Greg Stanek photo)

Things were looking good for the Waterloo Millers heading into the final inning of their Mon-Clair League playoff semifinal showdown against Valmeyer in Belleville on Saturday.

Waterloo led 1-0 on a home run by Justin Dunning, and starting pitcher Andy Galle had a no-hitter through six innings, but the Lakers would not give up, mounting a comeback for the ages.
The Lakers opened up the top of the seventh with a bunt single, followed by an error by Millers second baseman Brad Dillenberger to put runners at first and second. Matt Reinholz followed with a single to center to tie the game 1-1.

Wes Degener then hit an RBI double to put Valmeyer up 2-1.

With runners at second and third with two outs, the Millers got a ground ball to third that would have ended the inning. but Justin Dunning’s throw missed the mark and the Lakers scored two more runs to go up 4-1.

Waterloo mounted a comeback of its own in the bottom of the seventh, scoring runs on an RBI double by L.J. Watson and an RBI ground out from Justin Dunning to cut the Lakers lead to 4-3.

With two outs and a runner on third, Nick Dunning flew out to center, giving the Lakers a 4-3 win and a berth in the best-of-three-games championship series.

“That was one heck of a game,” Lakers coach Dennis Pieper said after the win.

Valmeyer, who advanced to the semifinal by defeating Millstadt 1-0 earlier on Saturday thanks to strong pitching by Mike Wuelling, will play the St. Louis Spikes on Sunday.

Game one will be at 1 p.m., followed by game two at 3:30 p.m. Game three (if needed) will be played Monday night at 7 p.m.

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