Mon-Clair playoffs set to begin

Pictured, twins Trey and Ty Kueper chat on the bench for the Waterloo Millers during a recent game.  

The Waterloo Millers closed out their Mon-Clair League baseball regular season with a 4-3 win over Cape Girardeau last Wednesday, but it wasn’t enough to claim the Monroe Division crown.

The league playoffs take place starting Wednesday night.

 The Millers finished the regular season with a record of 18-8. However, the defending league champion Belleville Rockies swept Millstadt on Saturday to win the division at 20-6.

Last Wednesday, St. Clair Division champion Cape Girardeau plated two runs in the first inning off Waterloo starter Trevor Davis but were held to just a single run the rest of the way.

Waterloo scored four runs in the fourth inning to pull ahead. Jared Jones doubled, Bailey Zimmer hit an RBI double and Adam Goss drove in two more.

Davis – a multi-sport star at SWIC who will play baseball and basketball at Monmouth College – picked up the complete game victory, striking out four.

The Rockies won game one against Millstadt on Saturday, 10-2, with the big blow coming via a Mike Breyman grand slam.

The second game was a nailbiter, with the Rockies emerging victorious after trailing 4-1. Former Waterloo High School baseball standout Alex Wittenauer came through with the game-winning RBI for Belleville in a 5-4 victory.

The Fairview Heights Redbirds finished 18-8 in league play after splitting with the Charleston Riverdogs on Saturday. The Redbirds lost 2-0 and won 14-13.

Belleville earned the top seed in the eight-team Mon-Clair League Playoffs, followed by Fairview Heights, Waterloo, Cape Girardeau, St. Louis Printers, Millstadt, St. Louis Spikes and Charleston.

Waterloo kicks off the playoffs with a showdown against Millstadt at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Belleville.

The Rockies host Charleston at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Fairview Heights hosts the Spikes at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, followed by Cape Girardeau vs. the Printers at 8:30 p.m.

The playoffs continue Saturday and Sunday at Whitey Herzog Field in Belleville, concluding with a best-of-three championship series.

Belleville is led on offense by Breyman, who is hitting .472 with 26 RBIs, and Pat Gaul at .419. Mike Krumm leads the Rockies pitching staff at 6-0 with a 2.98 ERA.

Waterloo is led on offense by Brad Dillenberger (.386, 13 walks), Keegan Baxmeyer (.367, 13 RBIs) and Mitchell Krebs (.366, 13 RBIs). Ethan Ruff is hitting .326 with 17 stolen bases and 19 runs.

Two mid-season additions for the Millers, DJ Miller (.471) and Jared Jones (.381, 13 RBIs), have carried the offense of late.

Reid Hendrickson (3-0, 1.39 ERA), Brenden Garza (5-1, 3.36 ERA) and Parker Stidham (4-4, 3.45 ERA) are the top starting pitchers for Waterloo.

Waterloo will face a Millstadt Green Machine squad that is led on offense by the Kossina brothers. Cal is hitting .417 and Tony is hitting .381 with 19 stolen bases and 25 runs. John Hilpert is hitting .378 with 13 RBIs and 20 runs.

Recent Gibault graduate Mark Branz is tied for the team lead in RBIs with 13.

The top pitchers for Millstadt are Andrew Yancik (4-3, 3.04 ERA) and Cal Kossina (3-5, 3.95 ERA).

For Fairview Heights, league veteran and former Waterloo High School standout Jeremiah Bergheger is hitting .326 with 14 RBIs.

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