The Monroe Division is standing out as the more competitive of the two divisions in the Mon-Clair League this summer, as evidenced by all four of its teams having winning records while all St. Clair Division squads are below .500.
The Valmeyer Lakers remain atop the Monroe Division standings at 12-4, which is also the best record in the league.
The Lakers won two of three recent games and look to finish the regular season strong.
On Friday, Valmeyer won 6-0 over the Cape Girardeau Capahas. Trevor Davis improved to 5-0 on the season with five and one-third shutout innings pitched, striking out five. He also added a hit and a run.
Offensive stars for the Lakers in this one were Easton Wallace and Logan Mueth, who each went 2-for-3. Mueth is hitting .441 to lead Valmeyer on the season.
On Sunday, Valmeyer split a doubleheader at the Edwardsville Aces.
In game one, the Lakers won 8-1 behind a strong pitching effort from Kenny Otero. He improved to 3-0 on the season with a 0.88 ERA by going five innings and striking out 11.
A five-run second inning sparked Valmeyer to victory. Ethan Ruff went 3-for-4 with a stolen base and a run. Cole Juelfs added a double and three RBIs. Matt Reinholz had a triple and two RBIs.
In the second game, the Lakers fell 5-4. Valmeyer trailed 4-2 after six innings, but plated two to tie it in the top of the seventh inning. The Aces answered with a walk-off run in the bottom of the seventh, however.
Mueth went 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Lakers, who received four solid innings pitched by Dustin Crawford.
Valmeyer plays a Sunday doubleheader at Millstadt starting at 1:30 p.m.
The Millstadt Green Machine (9-5) split a Sunday doubleheader with the St. Louis Spikes.
In game one, righthander Andrew Yancik threw a seven-inning no-hitter in a 2-0 victory for the Green Machine. He struck out six, walked two and faced just 24 batters.
Counting non-league play, Yancik is 5-1 with a 2.54 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 30 and one-third innings pitched this season.
Tony Kossina went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs in the win. Cal Kossina and John Hilpert added two hits each for Millstadt.
In game two, Millstadt dropped a 10-6 tilt to the Spikes. The Green Machine trailed 8-0 after five innings, but plated three runs each in the sixth and seventh innings.
Dillon Sunquist went 2-for-3 in the loss.
Jack Toenjes leads Millstadt in hitting at .459, followed by Tony Kossina at .449 and Collin Shea at .405.
Prior to Sunday’s showdown with Valmeyer, the Green Machine host Cape Girardeau on Thursday and the Southeast Missouri Tropics on Saturday.
The Waterloo Buds (11-7) won two of three recent games as first-year manager Barry Grant has his team nipping at the heels of the Lakers.
On Friday, Waterloo won 10-6 over Edwardsville. Brooks McDowell picked up the mound victory and Braeden Dobbs contributed three doubles and a pair of RBIs.
Garrett Schlecht went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Grant Staffen added a hit and an RBI.
On Sunday, the Buds split a doubleheader with Cape Girardeau.
In game one, Waterloo won 6-0 behind a solid pitching effort from Elijah Dale. He struck out 11 over five innings.
Nate Albrecht, Keegan Baxmeyer and Trey Kueper were among the offensive stars for the Buds.
In game two, Waterloo dropped a 2-1 decision in what was a pitching duel. Matt McGilvray, a southpaw, took the tough-luck pitching loss despite allowing just one earned run.
Albrecht leads all Waterloo hitters this season at .444.
The Buds will play a Sunday doubleheader at the Belleville Rockies starting at 1:30 p.m.
Belleville (7-6) picked up right where it left off after taking the Valmeyer Midsummer Classic title over the July 4 weekend. The Rockies swept a Sunday doubleheader over the Southeast Missouri Tropics.
In game one, Anthony Green pitched a complete game, seven-inning two-hitter with 10 strikeouts as the Rockies won 1-0.
Columbia High School graduate Kyle McConachie went 2-for-3 with a stolen base for Belleville.
Green improved to 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA in league play this season.
In game two, the Rockies won 8-3. McConachie, who is hitting .409 with seven stolen bases this season, had a double and three RBIs. Gibault grad Josh Papenberg went 2-for-3 with two runs for the Rockies.
Belleville boasts the league’s top two hitters in the league, Pat Gaul at .513 and Jake Isaacs at .500.
Following Sunday’s showdown with Waterloo, the Rockies will host Millstadt next Wednesday, July 20.