Millers down, but not out

Waterloo third baseman Mike Ward throws across the diamond during a game earlier this season. 

The Mon-Clair League enters its final week of the regular season and three baseball teams still have a shot at the Monroe Division title. 

The Belleville Rockies lead the division at 18-6, followed by the Fairview Heights Redbirds at 17-7 and Waterloo Millers at 17-8. 

The Rockies play two against Millstadt on Saturday and the Redbirds play two against Charleston on Saturday. 

The Millers take on Cape Girardeau for one game tonight at 8 p.m.

Waterloo went 3-2 last week, including another split with Belleville on Sunday. 

Last Wednesday, the Millers were held to just two hits in a 15-0 loss to Cape Girardeau. A nine-run sixth inning put the game away for the Capahas.

On Saturday, Waterloo swept a doubleheader against Millstadt, winning 5-4 and 12-2.

Waterloo ace righty Reid Hendrickson outdueled Millstadt’s Cal Kossina in the first game. DJ Miller and Jared Jones each went 3-for-4 with two runs to lead the Millers offense.

In the second game, Waterloo scored four runs in the second inning and seven in the third to make things easy on lefty starting pitcher Brenden Garza, who earned the victory.

Mitchell Krebs went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. Miller added two more hits and Ethan Ruff contributed a hit, RBI, two stolen bases and two runs.

A five-run sixth inning propelled the Rockies to a 9-2 win in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader. Parker Stidham took the loss on the hill for Waterloo.

In game two, a four-run seventh inning led to a 7-4 victory for the Millers. Dalton Erger, 6-foot-4 righty from Imperial, Mo. who pitched collegiately at Missouri S&T, threw six solid innings to earn the mound victory for Waterloo.

Brad Dillenberger went 3-for-4 and both Bailey Zimmer and Zack Seiler contributed two hits and two RBIs for the Millers.

Mike Breyman led the Rockies with two hits, including a first inning home run.

Keegan Baxmeyer continues to lead Waterloo in hitting at .367 with 13 RBIs, followed by Krebs at .352 with 13 RBIs. Dillenberger is hitting .333 and Ruff is hitting .329 with 17 stolen bases and 29 runs.

Hendrickson is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA. Garza is 5-1 with a 3.36 ERA.

 Two mid-season additions – Miller and Jones – have sparked Waterloo’s offense of late. Miller is hitting .560 with seven runs; Jones is hitting .389 with 12 RBIs.

Millstadt (13-11) is left to play the role of spoiler in this final weekend of regular season play. A win or two over Belleville on Saturday could open the door for either Fairview Heights or Waterloo.

Andrew Yancik leads the Green Machine pitchers with a 4-2 record and 2.05 ERA. Offensive leaders for  Millstadt are Cal Kossina (.415, 20 runs, 11 RBIs), Tony Kossina (.385, 13 stolen bases, 24 runs) and John Hilpert (.377, 13 RBIs).

The Valmeyer Lakers closed out their regular season with losses to Fairview Heights over the weekend, 10-2 and 6-0.

John Wuelling and Mitch Meyer collected hits in both games for the Lakers (6-20).

Meyer led the Lakers in hitting this season at .390 with 16 RBIs, followed by Matt Reinholz at .385, Wuelling at .333 with 19 stolen bases and 21 runs and Cole Juelfs at .314. Mark Nappier hit .305 with 18 RBIs.

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