PRINCETON — With its back to the wall, down 8-1 to St. Louis, St. Matthews Lutheran didn’t come out swinging Tuesday night in the Princeton Fastpitch Church League Tournament semifinals. Rather, they practiced some patience.
St. Matthews began to work the counts against St. Louis pitcher Brik Wedekind. That strategy led to key bases on balls ahead of some timely hitting that fueled its comeback.
St. Matthews scored four in the fourth to close within 8-5, three in the fifth to make it 9-8 and scored six in the sixth to rally for a 14-11 victory.
The winning rally in the sixth inning was highlighted by Levi Bates’ two-run homer to right-center; Eric Waca’s two-run triple for a 12-11 lead; and Matt Cochran’s two-run triple to make it 14-11.
Winning pitcher Brad Snethen went the distance for St. Matthews.
United Methodist knocked out Bureau Township 11-3 in Tuesday’s opener.
UMC and St. Louis had its loser’s bracket battle postponed from Thursday to Friday with the winner advancing to Saturday’s finals, having to beat St. Matthews twice.
• Church bulletin: St. Matthews (12-0), the three-time defending champion, advances to Saturday’s championship seeking to become just the third team dating back to 1980 to go undefeated.
St. Matthews finished 13-0 in 1995, defeating Bunker Hill in the championship game.
United Methodist went 15-0 in 1999, defeating St. Matthews for the league title.
St. Matthews has won 10 championships dating back to 1980, including 1982, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2012.
Last year’s finals saw St. Matthews beat Bureau Township to seal up its 3-Peat.
St. Matthews knocked off Methodist in 2015 and had to beat Bunker Hill twice in the finals in 2014.
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