Mon-Clair league baseball action is under way for the summer, and a couple of local teams are already off to hot starts.
The Waterloo Millers entered this season as the defending Mon-Clair League champions under the watchful eye of longtime manager Vern Moehrs and have gotten off to a nice start to the season at 6-2. That puts them in second place in the Monroe Division, one game back of the Valmeyer Lakers.
The Millers split a Sunday doubleheader at home against Millstadt VFW, dropping the first game, 9-4, but rebounding in the second game in exciting fashion..
Pitcher Ian Miller’s first game for Waterloo was a memorable one, as he threw a no-hitter in a 8-0 win over Millstadt.
L.J. Watson led the charge at the plate, smacking a two-run home run in the second inning. He had five RBIs in the game.
The defense was stellar behind Miller the whole game. Jake Friederich made an amazing catch on a line drive in the second inning, leaping high in the air to steal a hit from Millstadt.
“We have been playing well. We are hitting well, the defense has been good and the pitching is good. We have the whole team here now, so hopefully we can keep it up,” Friederich said after the game. “Miller was great for us today. Any time you throw a no-hitter in this league it’s good. There are some good hitters in this league. It wasn’t a fluke. He had some good stuff.”
Eduardo Oquendo (.636) and Friederich (.524) are the team’s top hitters. Ethan Ruff leads the team with six steals.
Pitching has been strong for the Millers early in the season, led by John Auble (two wins, 1.00 ERA), Brandon Musso (1 win, 0.00 ERA) and Miller (1 win, 0.00 ERA).
The Millers host O’Fallon, Mo., for two games this Friday evening at SPPS Field and also host a Sunday afternoon doubleheader against Fairview Heights starting at 1:30 p.m.
The Valmeyer Lakers took both games from the O’Fallon Blaze on Sunday to improve to 7-1 on the season and boost themselves to the top of the standings for the time being.
The Lakers finished the 2013 season with a record of 10-14, but so far this season they are looking very strong.
John Wuelling (.400, four RBIs), Ben Thoma (.429, one home run, four RBIs), Jake Degener (.353, one home run, six RBIs) and Dylan Skinner (.471, four RBIs) lead the Lakers in hitting.
Former WHS pitcher D.J. Dillenberger is leading the Lakers pitching staff with two early wins and an ERA of 1.17.
“We are playing very well this season. We have been getting solid pitching, the defense has been very good and we are getting timely hitting,” Lakers head coach Dennis Pieper said. “If we continue like this, it will be a good year.”
Valmeyer will host Edwardsville this Sunday for two games at Borsch Park beginning at 1:30 p.m.
The Columbia Saints finished the 2013 season with a record of 4-20 and are off to a slow start again this year at 1-7.
They picked up their first win of the season Sunday, 2-0 over the Belleville Rockies, and lost a very close second game, 1-0.
Aaron Floarke (.400, four RBIs) leads the team in hitting while Logan Mueth leads the Saints with six RBIs.
Blake Novak is the team’s leading pitcher so far with a record of 0-1 and a 2.00 ERA.
The Saints will host the St. Louis Printers for a Sunday afternoon doubleheader at Kleinschmidt Field.
The Millstadt VFW is off to a slow start this season after winning the Monroe Division last year with a record of 19-5.
Following Sunday’s doubleheader split with the Millers, Millstadt is 3-5 on the summer.
“We are not off to a good start. Our biggest thing is we have scored three runs in the second game of doubleheaders so far this year and 30 in the first game and we are facing better pitching in the first game,” Millstadt head coach Norm Toenjes said. “I don’t know what the cause of it is. We have tried to change things up, but not much is working so we need to get over that and go from there.”
Luke Matecki (.429, three RBIs) and Rob Beatty (.389, five RBIs) currently lead the team in hitting.
Sam Lidisky (two wins, 1.24 ERA) and Caleb Tatum (one win, 1.17 ERA) head the pitching staff.
Millstadt hosts O’Fallon for two games Sunday at Mueth Field.