A big five run second inning was enough for the Festus Tigers to hold on a for a 7-4 victory over the North County Raiders in district tournament semifinal action Monday at Ste. Genevieve. The victory puts Festus in the district championship game against Potosi, 13-5 winners over Ste. Genevieve. The championship game will be played Thursday at Yanks Field in Ste. Genevieve. Game time is at 5 p.m.
The Raiders opened the scoring in the first inning, plating a run to take a 1-0 lead. However, the second inning was the crucial inning for the Tigers. Chase Cole (11) drove home a run to tie it, and a bases clearing triple by Andrew Douglas (12) gave Festus a lead they would never relinquish. The blast to right-centerfield gave the Tigers a 4-1 lead. Festus would tack on another run on a double by Cameron Beck (12) for a seemingly comfortable 5-1 lead.
However, North County came back to score three runs in the third inning to close the gap to 5-4. After that, three full innings of scoreless baseball would follow. The top of the seventh gave the Tigers the insurance runs they were looking for. An RBI base hit by Jake Leitner (11) plated one run, and Festus added another thanks to a an error for the 7-4 winning margin.
Leitner pitched the first six innings of the game, allowing four runs on eight hits while striking out four and walking three. Brennan Pryor (11) worked the final inning and gained the save, striking out two and walking two.
Douglas and Cole had two hits apiece to lead the eight-hit attack. Leitner, Pryor, Beck, and Collin Mann (11) had one hit each.
“This game had everything…our boys responded in this one big time and defeated a really good team,” said head coach Jeff Montgomery. “Our boys have a relentless and very competitive approach right now. I have to say I like our chances on Thursday,” he added. “It will be a tough game. Potosi is good, but we are confident right now.”
The Tigers are now 12-9 on the season. Festus and Potosi met one time this season, way back on March 23. The Trojans won that matchup, 5-3.