The 48th annual Midsummer Classic is set to begin Thursday at Borsch Park in Valmeyer, with eight Mon-Clair League teams vying for the top trophy.
The Waterloo Millers kick off tourney play with a 9 a.m. Thursday contest against Millstadt. See a complete tourney bracket on page 2B.
The Millers are 10-3 in league play, good for second place in the Monroe Division, following a Sunday doubleheader sweep of the Valmeyer Lakers at Borsch.
Waterloo won the first game, 7-1, and followed that up with a 4-2 victory.
Parker Stidham threw five shutout innings in the first game, striking out five. Ethan Ruff, Mitchell Krebs and Keegan Baxmeyer collected two hits apiece for the Millers.
In the second game, southpaw Brenden Garza threw five shutout innings, allowing only three hits. Baxmeyer, Logan Mueth and Mike Ward recorded two hits each.
Baxmeyer and Garza both played for Missouri S&T this spring.
With Sunday’s 4-for-6 showing, Baxmeyer has upped his season average to .406. Ruff is hitting .373 and Krebs is hitting .343.
Stidham, who played for Mineral Area College this spring, leads the Waterloo pitching staff with a 4-2 record and 29 strikeouts in 34.3 innings. Reid Hendrickson (1-0, 0.88 ERA in 16 innings) has also pitched well for the Millers.
For the Lakers, Jacob Hill took the pitching loss in the first game and Easton Wallace pitched well in the game two defeat.
Matt Reinholz, who leads the Lakers in hitting at .457, went 2-for-6 on the day.
Other top hitters for Valmeyer so far this season are Cole Juelfs, John Wuelling and Mitch Meyer.
On Saturday, Valmeyer (6-10) lost 10-6 and 5-4 to Fairview Heights.
Valmeyer opens tourney play at 4:30 p.m. Thursday against the St. Louis Spikes.
Millstadt (8-6) won both games of a doubleheader over the St. Louis Latinos on Saturday, 4-3 and 14-6.
On Sunday, the Green Machine won 5-0 but lost 10-0 to Fairview Heights.
The top hitters for Millstadt this season are Matt Janocik (.435) and veteran shortstop Tony Kossina (.387, six stolen bases).
Andrew Yancik has emerged as the ace of the Millstadt pitching staff. He’s 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA. Cal Kossina is 2-2 with a 2.92 ERA.
The Belleville Rockies, who currently lead the Monroe Division at 11-3, will look to repeat as champions of the Midsummer Classic. The Rockies defeated the St. Louis Printers in the final and went on to win the Mon-Clair League playoffs last August.
Mike Breyman is the leading hitter for the Rockies with a .424 average.
Other players to watch at the Midsummer Classic are Lee Cruz of the St. Louis Spikes, who is hitting .536 this season, and Cole Nicoles of the Cape Girardeau Capahas, who is hitting .429.
The title game of this year’s Midsummer Classic is tentatively set for 3:30 p.m. Sunday.