On the field and at the plate for local teams

Valmeyer's Easton Wallace connects with a pitch at home against New Athens on March 29. He is hitting .452 this spring. (John Spytek photo)
Valmeyer’s Easton Wallace connects with a pitch at home against New Athens on March 29. He is hitting .452 this spring. To view and purchase baseball photos visit the R-T media store by clicking here.
(John Spytek photo)

Some are faring better than others of late, but all of the local high school baseball teams are above .500 heading into a busy part of the regular season schedule.

The Gibault Hawks are riding high at 9-3 following a Monday win against Marquette, 12-6.

“Overall, we have been playing pretty well,” Gibault head coach Andy Skaer said.

An eight-run fifth inning propelled the Hawks against Marquette. Trevor Davis kept up his strong spring at the plate, going 4-for-4 with two doubles and two stolen bases. Alex Stern went 3-for-4 with two RBIs.

On Saturday, Gibault split a doubleheader at home against Mascoutah, winning 13-10 and falling 10-1. Davis went 3-for-4  with three RBIs in the win. Johnny Francescon went 2-for-3 with four RBIs. Tyler Brinkmann went 3-for-4 with four runs scored.

Francescon added two hits in the loss.

Saturday’s split was preceded by a Friday loss to Red Bud, 5-0. The Hawks could only muster two hits in the defeat.

Still, Skaer is pretty excited about his team’s offensive production thus far.

Columbia's Luke Watson delivers a pitch at home against Piasa Southwestern on March 19. (Alan Dooley photo)
Columbia’s Luke Watson delivers a pitch at home against Piasa Southwestern on March 19. (Alan Dooley photo)

“Offensively, pleasant surprises have come from Johnny Francescon and Mark Branz.  Trevor Davis, Tyler Brinkmann, Drew Dugan and Alex Stern have been leading the offense at the top of the order,” he said. There have been solid contributions from many throughout the lineup.”

Davis is hitting .568 with 17 RBIs on the season. Francescon is hitting .417 with 12 RBIs and eight stolen bases. Brinkmann is hitting .371 with 13 RBIs and 14 runs scored.
Gibault’s pitching has been solid, but there have been control issues.

“We need to cut down on the walks,” Skaer said. “Trevor has been our best so far, but Tyler, Collin Kessler and Logan Kesler have also pitched well.”

The Hawks have a date with cross-county rival Columbia this Friday night at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, after which they will battle CBC on Saturday.

Columbia is 6-3 after topping defending state champion Highland at home on Friday, 7-4.

The Eagles plated four runs in the first inning to stun the visiting Bulldogs. Cameron Touchette turned in a 3-for-4 day with two stolen bases.

For the season, Touchette is picking up where he left off in 2015, hitting .643 with 12 RBIs, nine runs scored and four stolen bases.

Cameron Roth is also hitting well, posting a .481 average with eight RBIs for the Eagles.
On the hill, Andrew Hoguet is 2-1 with a 2.06 ERA.

Columbia began conference play at Carlyle on Tuesday, hosts Okawville on Wednesday and plays at Red Bud on Thursday prior to Friday’s showdown with Gibault.

“(It) figures to be a very competitive, wide-open conference race,” Columbia head coach Neal O’Donnell said. “Carlyle is undefeated. Freeburg has some quality wins.  Wesclin also has some quality wins, and Central returns a lot of players who have a lot of varsity experience.”

O’Donnell is pleased with how his team has played, but there is still room for improvement.

“We keep emphasizing that we need to take care of what we can control, don’t let mistakes snowball out of control, and take quality at-bats on a consistent basis,” he said. “Our team has benefited from the return of Touchette, but we have had a better approach at the plate as a team over the past week or so. I think his return has boosted the confidence of our team. We have a long way to go, and we need to get better every day.”

Waterloo started out 4-0, but dropped three straight games of late.

The Bulldogs topped a good Parkway South team on Friday, 5-3. Aaron Laskowski went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Jordan McFarland added two doubles. Ben Maurer picked up the win on the mound.

On Saturday, Waterloo lost both games of a doubleheader against Oakville.

The first game was 12-2, with McFarland going 3-for-3 and Tyler McAlister adding two hits.

Game two was a slugfest, with Oakville pulling out a 12-11 victory in eight innings.

McFarland smashed a home run as part of his 2-for-5 game. McAlister, Kane Osterhage and Erik Kaiser added three hits each.

“Oakville just outhit us,” Waterloo head coach Mark Vogel said.

On Monday, the Bulldogs committed seven errors in a 3-2 loss at Freeburg. McAlister pitched well in defeat, only allowing three hits and one earned run. He is 2-1 with a 0.44 ERA this spring.

“He’s looked really strong on the mound,” Vogel said.

The head coach said it was just one of those days.

“I didn’t think we had great at-bats. We swung at bad pitches early,” he said. “We didn’t play as well as we’re capable of.”

Osterhage and Hayden Bender collected two hits each in the loss.

On the season, McFarland is torching pitching to the tune of a .571 average with two home runs and eight RBIs. Osterhage is hitting .526. Bender is next at .471.

“Our offense is good from top to bottom. They’ve had good at-bats,” Vogel said. “Hopefully we can keep that going.”

The Bulldogs host Alton on Wednesday and play at Wesclin on Friday and at CBC on Saturday before starting Mississippi Valley Conference play with a Monday game at Highland.

Valmeyer is 4-3-1 heading into play this week.

Michael Chism picked up the team’s first conference victory of the season on the mound at home against New Athens last Tuesday, 8-2.

Tyler Kempfer came through with a clutch two-out, two-RBI hit. Mark Nappier went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.

Cole Juelfs went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two stolen bases. Jake Krekel had four stolen bases on the night.

“It never seems like we are out of a game this year as long as we stay within striking distance,” Valmeyer head coach Greg Reinhardt said. “In three out of our four wins this year, we have come from behind.”

Chism, a lefty, is 1-1 on the mound with a 2.21 ERA.

Krekel leads the offense with a .478 average and 10 runs scored with five stolen bases.
Easton Wallace is hitting .452 with six RBIs. Nappier, a senior, is hitting .440 with nine RBIs.

The Pirates played at Steeleville on Tuesday and play at Lebanon on Thursday. Valmeyer plays a doubleheader at Althoff on Saturday.

Valmeyer’s main rival in the Cahokia Conference’s Kaskaskia Division is Dupo, which is 4-3.

The Tigers lost to Freeburg on Friday, 15-5.

Dupo head coach Brad Daubach is pleased with his team’s start.

“We are scoring close to six runs per game and managing some scoring opportunities in our losses as well,” he said.

Austin Francis (.571, one home run, six RBIs) is off to a hot start at the plate for the Tigers.

“He is also the leader of our defensive team, as he keeps all our pitchers in line and doesn’t let many baserunners get to second when attempting a stolen base,” the coach said.

Drake Harvell is also off to a strong start, hitting .421 with five RBIs.

Brandon and Collin Roth are setting the table nicely at the top of the lineup, Daubach said.

Taylor Stanek is hitting well in the middle of the lineup.

“The offense is really starting to gel and a lot of fun to watch as we get back to the top,” he said.

On the mound, Harvell and Stanek have established themselves as the top two pitchers for Dupo.

“I am really looking forward to conference play and the opportunity to repeat as conference champions in back-to-back years for the first time in school history,” Daubach said.

After topping New Athens on Tuesday, Dupo hosts Chester on Wednesday and Marissa on Thursday.

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