The Millstadt VFW Green Machine’s offense roared to life to claim the 2015 Mon-Clair Baseball League playoff title on Wednesday night at Longacre Park in Fairview Heights. The team beat the St. Louis Spikes, 7-2 and 9-3, to win the championship.
The games were to be played on Monday, but Sunday night storms washed them out. Millstadt manager Norm Toenjes told the Republic-Times on Monday that he hoped the extra days off would ignite the team’s offense.
After trailing in the series 1-0 with a 4-1 loss to the Spikes on Sunday night, the Millstadt bats — as well as two quality pitching starts — kept the Spikes from winning back-to-back championships. This was Millstadt VFW’s first playoff championship.
In the game two win, Shane Hartwig took the mound. He went 6-plus innings on the mound, leaving the game with a 7-1 lead and eventual win.
On offense, Millstadt’s lineup didn’t need to rely on anyone in particular — everyone was hitting. In the bottom of the third, Millstadt took a 2-1 lead on a pair of RBI singles by Tony Kossina and Luke Matecki. In the fourth inning, Brian Lupa added an RBI single. Mitch Matecki knocked in a pair of runs with the Green Machine’s best weapon — another single. Luke Matecki added two more runs in the sixth inning with a double.
In the game three victory, Millstadt’s Brett Huber earned the “W” from the mound. He went six innings.
Millstadt had back-to-back four-run innings in the fifth and sixth to stretch the lead. Otto Roberts came in to finish the game in the seventh inning. He ran into a little trouble, loading the bases, but was able to induce the Spikes’ Lee Cruz — who leads the league in home runs with eight — into a foul ball popout to first base to end the game, and season.
For a full recap of the championship doubleheader and insight from Toenjes, pick up a copy of the Aug. 19 newspaper.