It wasn’t the offensive onslaught that Festus baseball fans were use to seeing from the last couple of games, but the Tigers had little trouble disposing of the Windsor Owls, 6-1 Saturday in the district opener at Yanks Field in Ste. Genevieve.
Festus averaged over 17 runs in its last two games, but Windsor hurler Carter Schmutzler kept the Festus batters guessing through five innings of work, allowing just six hits and striking out six. “We had a hard time squaring up the ball today, and that had a lot to do with Schmutzler,” said head coach Jeff Montgomery.
But the Tigers were opportunistic…particularly Collin Mann (12). In the first inning, Chase Cole (12) led off the inning with a walk, and moved to second on a wild pitch. Eddie Martin (11) followed with a bloop double that put runners on second and third. After a pop out, Mann stepped to the plate and split the left-center gap and flopped in head first into third base with a two-run triple.
The Owls were able to push across a run in the third inning to cut the Tiger lead to 2-1. Windsor was able to string together a couple of hits and a fielder’s choice to score the run. But Festus would come back in their half of the third to extend the lead to 4-1, again thanks to Mann.
With one out, Martin and Matt Rosen (12) hit back-to-back singles. Mann then deposited another ball in pretty much the same location as his first hit, and went in standing up at second base with a two-run double.
Meanwhile, Brennan Pryor (12) was taking care of the Windsor batters. He went the first four innings allowing just the one run on two hits. He struck out four. And then Blake Holland (12) took over and pitched three shut out innings, throwing just 26 pitches and allowing one hit while striking out three.
The Tigers added a run in the fourth inning to make it 5-1. With two out, Charlie Pratt (11) reached on an error and sped home on a base hit up the middle by Cole. Then, in the sixth inning, Festus scored its final run of the game. Jake Leitner (12) led off with a double, moved to third on a ground out by Holland, and then came home on a sacrifice fly to center by Zach Baisch (11).
“We really played well defensively, and our pitching was excellent,” noted Montgomery. “We get to move on to play again on Monday.”
The Festus game was fairly uneventful compared to the other two games Saturday. Prior to the Tigers’ game, Potosi used a grand slam in the eighth inning to defeat North County, 8-5. And then in the game after the Festus victory, Park Hills Central needed nine innings to advance, defeating DeSoto 3-2. The Tigers will meet Central at 6:30 p.m. Monday in a semifinal matchup. The other semifinal game will pit top seeded Ste. Genevieve against Potosi at 4:30 p.m. All games are played at Yanks Field in Ste. Genevieve.