The time to shine is now for baseball teams

It’s regional playoff time for Class 1A baseball schools Gibault, Valmeyer and Dupo. 

For Columbia and Waterloo, the possibility of a rivalry regional showdown awaits.

Gibault (20-8) begins its quest for a second straight regional title at the Class 1A Okawville Regional on Wednesday against Mulberry Grove. With a win, the Hawks would play either Okawville or Father McGivney for the title at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Gibault won 12-1 over Cahokia last Wednesday. Ian Metcalf went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a first inning single by Mark Branz set a new all-time hits record at the school. 

Last Tuesday, the Hawks dropped a 10-0 contest to Highland.

Branz, a senior, continues to lead the team in hitting and pitching with a .435 average, 16 doubles and 33 runs to go along with a 5-0 record and 2.50 ERA.

Austin Sweeney is hitting .416 with 37 runs and Cole Buckner is hitting .410 with 29 RBIs.

Metcalf is hitting .354 with 20 RBIs. Other top performers include Tim Reinholz (.348, 18 stolen bases, 3-2, 4.35 ERA) and Tate Schilling (.333, 15 stolen bases).

Valmeyer (16-14) ended its regular season with an 11-1 win over Pinckneyville on Friday, which was the team’s fifth straight victory.

Riley McCarthy had two hits and Logan Seidler went 1-for-2 with two RBIs for the Pirates, who open Class 1A New Athens Regional play against Dupo (6-14) on Wednesday. With a win, Valmeyer would play either New Athens or Metro-East Lutheran in the regional final at 10 am. Saturday.

Last Tuesday, Valmeyer sophomore Jacob Rowold threw a five-inning no-hitter in a 10-0 win over Marissa. Rowold struck out six and walked only one in the pitching gem. He also collected two hits. 

Henry Weber added two hits and three RBIs for the Pirates.

McCarthy leads the team in hitting at .460 with 32 runs and 31 RBIs. Seidler is next at .386 with 34 RBIs and 24 runs.

Reinhardt, who bats right-handed and throws left-handed, is hitting .348 with 21 RBIs and 26 runs and is 5-1 on the mound with a 1.62 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 43 and one-third innings.

Sam Fitzwilliam is hitting .344 with 32 runs and 19 stolen bases. Rowold is hitting .316 with 36 runs and 18 stolen bases and is 5-2 on the mound with a 2.22 ERA.

Dupo advanced to face Valmeyer in the New Athens Regional with a 3-2 win over Marissa on Monday. Devin Similey, who leads the Tigers in hitting at .344, went 2-for-3 with two runs.

Bryce Lancaster struck out seven in a complete game pitching performance.

Dupo lost 5-4 at Red Bud on Friday. Noah Chism and Tristan Long collected two hits each for the Tigers.

Columbia (21-5) won a marathon 2-1 contest in 11 innings at home against Salem on Monday. Senior ace righthander Shane Wilhelm struck out 18 and walked none in nine and two-thirds innings pitched, allowing just three hits. He also went 2-for-6 at the plate.

Sam Bonaldi went 3-for-5 for the Eagles, who host Civic Memorial on Wednesday and Breese Central on Thursday, play at Mascoutah on Friday and at Belleville West at noon on Saturday.

Columbia won 13-3 over Collinsville last Wednesday and 13-3 over Carlyle last Tuesday. 

Nic Horner and AJ Mueller lead the team in hitting at .386. Mueller has four home runs and 33 RBIs.

Sam Horner is hitting .380 with 32 runs and 20 RBIs.

Wilhelm is 6-1 with an 0.91 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 53 and two-thirds innings pitched. He’s also hitting .333 with 24 runs.

The Eagles will be home for the Class 3A Columbia Regional and will take on the winner of East St. Louis vs. Cahokia at 4:30 p.m. May 22.

Also in the Columbia Regional is Waterloo (15-10), who will battle Freeburg at 4:30 p.m. May 23.

The regional final is set for 11 a.m. May 25.

Waterloo lost 3-1 to Mississippi Valley Conference champion Mascoutah on Monday. The ‘Dogs were unable to score until the bottom of the seventh inning.

Waterloo hosts Belleville East on Wednesday, will play at Cahokia on Thursday, at Belleville West on Friday and at Alton on Saturday, and will battle Edwardsville at GCS Ballpark at 6 p.m. Monday.

On Friday, the Bulldogs won 5-4 at Granite City. Nic Schlemmer picked up the win in relief and Tyson Roedl provided a clutch hit.

Waterloo lost 3-1 at Civic Memorial last Wednesday. The Eagles plated three runs in the first inning and held on. 

Ty Kueper leads the ‘Dogs in hitting at .492 with a .617 on base percentage, nine doubles, 15 RBIs and 15 runs. 

Josh Wittenauer is hitting .378 with 22 runs and 10 stolen bases. 

Dustin Crawford is hitting .350 with 14 RBIs and is 7-2 with a 2.06 ERA.

Drake Downing is 5-1 with a 2.03 ERA.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.

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