The Monroe Division of the Mon-Clair League has become a tight race entering the final weekend of the regular season.
The Valmeyer Lakers are still atop the division at 16-6, but the Millstadt Green Machine (14-7) and Waterloo Buds (14-8) have moved within striking distance.
The Lakers split four recent games, which were doubleheaders against the Southeast Missouri Tropics and the Buds.
On Saturday, Valmeyer won 7-6 in game one over the Tropics by plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Trevor Davis went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs and also picked up the complete game pitching win.
In game two, the Tropics blanked the Lakers to the tune of 12-0. Kenny Otero had two hits for the Lakers.
On Sunday, Valmeyer lost 7-2 in game one to the Buds but rebounded to win a barnburner in game two, 12-11, in 11 innings.
Waterloo’s Matt McGilvray pitched a complete game in game one, and Preston Wright came through with a two-out, two-run single in the third inning to spark the Buds. In the fifth inning, Nate Albrecht tripled and scored, and Trey Kueper added a two-run single.
Ryan Weston went 2-for-3 with a double for the Buds.
In game two, the Lakers led 7-0 before the Buds rallied for nine runs in the fourth inning. The big blow came from Weston.
The Lakers tied it in the sixth inning and eventually emerged victorious.
Jacob Rowold went 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs to pace Valmeyer’s offense. Otero, Easton Wallace and Ethan Ruff added two hits each.
Otero is hitting .431 with 22 RBIs and is 4-1 with a 2.27 ERA for the Lakers this season. Davis is hitting .418 and is 6-0 with a 1.06 ERA.
Valmeyer concludes its regular season at home against the Belleville Rockies with a Saturday afternoon doubleheader.
Waterloo won three of four games over the weekend.
Prior to Sunday’s split with the Lakers, the Buds won 7-1 and 11-5 over the Rockies on Friday.
In game one, Elijah Dale pitched a two-hitter with 13 strikeouts and Wright went 2-for-4 with a three-run double and three-run homer. Kueper, Keegan Baxmeyer and Braeden Dobbs also contributed key hits for the Buds.
In game two, Matt Pay pitched six-plus innings and Garrett Schlecht closed it out. Wright added another three-run homer for a nine-RBI night. Albrecht went 5-for-5 with three runs and Dobbs went 3-for-5 with three RBIs.
Waterloo plays a Saturday doubleheader at Millstadt to close out the regular season.
Albrecht leads the Buds in hitting at .431, followed by Dobbs at .400.
Brooks McDowell is Waterloo’s top hurler this season at 2-0 with a 1.67 ERA.
Millstadt won all three of its recent games.
Last Wednesday, the Green Machine got a two-hit shutout from Garrett Herring in a 1-0 victory. Tony Kossina went 2-for-4 and scored the game’s only run.
On Sunday, Millstadt won 8-1 and 13-5 over the Rockies.
Joey Kossina pitched four and two-thirds innings for the victory in game one. The Green Machine bats came alive in the second game.
Millstadt closes out the regular season with a game at Belleville on Wednesday prior to Saturday’s showdown with the Buds.
Tony Kossina leads the Green Machine in hitting at .431, followed by brother Cal Kossina at .385 with 11 RBIs.
Their youngest brother, Joey Kossina, is 5-3 with a 2.58 ERA. Andrew Yancik is 5-1 with a 2.48 ERA.
The Mon-Clair League playoffs begin next Saturday, Aug. 6, with games in Waterloo and Millstadt.