Sunday’s championship game of the 43rd annual Midsummer Classic baseball tournament at Borsch Park in Valmeyer featured the “Battle of Missouri,” which went to the St. Louis Spikes.
The Spikes, who currently lead the St. Clair Division of the Mon-Clair League with a 16-2 record, capped off an impressive weekend with a 6-2 victory over the Cape Girardeau Capahas.
It was the first tourney title for the Spikes since 2011. Spikes player Mike Luczak was named tourney MVP after he put on a solid hitting display all weekend.
The Lakers and Waterloo Millers each went 2-1 over the weekend.
The Lakers bounced back from their loss to the Spikes by coming from behind to defeat the Belleville Rockies in the third place game on Sunday. Trailing 2-1 in the seventh, Dylan Skinner scored on a single by John Wuelling to tie things up.
Valmeyer took the lead in the eighth inning when Kyle Dermody’s single to right scored recent Gibault graduate Mitch Meyer, who led off the inning with a double. Fellow Gibault grad Wes Degener followed with a single, and a Jake Degener sacrifice fly gave the Lakers a 4-2 lead.
Pitcher Andrew Bicklein closed out the game for the win. He pitched four scoreless innings in relief of Valmeyer starter D.J. Dillenberger.
Things started off well enough for the Lakers on Saturday in front of a sizeable crowd at Borsch Park. Ben Thoma muscled a solo home run to right-center field with two outs in the bottom of the first for a 1-0 lead.
But the Spikes answered with some power of their own in the second when Justin Hennig crushed a two-run shot for a 2-1 lead off Lakers lefty starter Adam Bieber.
Wes Degener led off the bottom of the third against Spikes starter Jon Kars with a bunt single for Valmeyer and came around to score on an RBI single by Adam Kunkel to make it 2-2.
The Spikes took a 3-2 lead in the fourth and added to their lead in the fifth when first baseman Luczak drilled a bases loaded double to right-center to plate three runs and give the Spikes a 6-2 cushion.
The Lakers scored once in the sixth to make it 6-3, but wasted a golden opportunity to plate more with the bases loaded and nobody out. The Spikes added a run in the ninth to win 7-3.
Perhaps the defensive gem of the entire tournament came in the fourth inning when Valmeyer rightfielder John Wuelling jumped up and caught a potential two-run homer off the bat of St. Louis Spikes batter Chris Scoggins.
In the final game played on
Friday, the Lakers went up big early and escaped late with a 10-8 victory over the St. Louis Printers.
Valmeyer took a 10-4 lead into the ninth inning, but the Printers hit a grand slam home run to make things interesting before the Lakers closed the door.
The Millers, who lead the Mon-Clair League’s Monroe Division at 16-2, won the consolation championship Sunday with a 13-7 win over division foe Millstadt VFW. Nick Dunning, who carried the team offensively all weekend, smashed a home run in the win.
Brandon Musso pitched effectively to earn the victory for Waterloo.
Waterloo opened tourney play with a 9-3 loss Friday morning to the Belleville Rockies, as the Millers had a tough time against Rockies pitcher Mark Mueller, who once pitched for the Millers.
With former big league pitcher Randy Wells serving as his catcher, Mueller took a no-hitter into the seventh inning until designated hitter Nick Dunning crushed a home run to left field.
Belleville remained in control throughout, plating runs in the third, fifth, sixth and ninth innings. Mike Breyman was the offensive star for the Rockies, going 4-for-5 with two RBIs.
The Millers plated two runs on back-to-back homers by brothers Justin and Nick Dunning, but Belleville reliever Ryan Warnecke snuffed out the rally for the win.
“Not much went right for us on Friday,” Millers assistant coach Mark Vogel said. “Give credit to Mueller.”
The Millers rose to the occasion Saturday, featuring strong pitching from starter Andy Galle and a grand slam from Jake Frierderich in a 6-2 win over Fairview Heights.
“After that first game, our bats really got going and our pitching was strong,” Vogel said.
Millstadt opened tourney play with a tough 6-5 loss to the Spikes on Friday, but rebounded with a 9-5 win over the St. Louis Printers on Saturday.
The Cape Girardeau Capahas defeated Fairview Heights on Friday and the Belleville Rockies on Saturday to advance to Sunday’s title game.
Waterloo resumes league play with a Sunday doubleheader against the O’Fallon Blaze at SWIC in Belleville starting at 1:30 p.m.
Valmeyer will host the St. Louis Printers for two games on Sunday afternoon.
Millstadt will play the St. Louis Spikes on Sunday in St. Louis, and the Columbia Saints, who did not participate in the Midsummer Classic, will host Fairview Heights for two on Sunday.