Wethersfield 2A regional: Alleman 5, St. Bede 3
KEWANEE — It would have been something.
Just after the St. Bede Lady Bruins softball team captured the championship of their own 1A regional, the Bruins baseball team was poised to join them in continuing their postseason progress, but were denied that chance by the Alleman Pioneers, who defeated the Bruins 5-3 to capture the Annawan/Wethersfield 2A Regional on Monday afternoon.
The Bruins (16-10) gained the upper hand 3-2 in the second inning but lost it in the third and never got back on track, while Alleman (24-13) kept scoring runs and gaining momentum.
“In baseball, you don’t always win, sometimes you just lose,” St. Bede coach Bill Booker said. “We left nine guys on base tonight, we couldn’t get a key hit, we didn’t execute the way we wanted to, and that’s the story of a 5-3 loss in a regional championship.
“Give Alleman credit, but I would like to think that it was ours for the taking. It was just a matter of not executing today.”
Doing the most damage for the Pioneers were Zach Carpita (2-3, 3 RBI), Nate Sheets (2-4, 2 runs), and Chase VanDerGinst (2 runs, 3 walks).
Bruins’ starting pitcher Dylan Grammer was tagged with all of Alleman’s five runs (all earned), as well as four hits and six walks while also getting four strikeouts.
“He wasn’t sharp today, he wasn’t his best,” Booker said. “But we knew coming in we were going to have to hit our spots. We didn’t want 24 (VanDerGinst) to beat us. He’s a pretty good player going to Western Illinois.
“We tried to stick with our game plan, and for the most part it worked. If we play good defense and get ahead of the hitters, you know he was 7-2 going into this game. He’s a good pitcher.”
Alleman’s winning pitcher Jono Berry had his share of trouble from the Bruins’ batters, getting seven strikeouts but also allowing three earned runs, seven hits, and walking three in his five innings of work.
The first inning saw the Pioneers get the first runs on the scoreboard, when a double deep into right field by Carpita sent Sam Mattecheck and VanDerGinst home for a 2-0 lead.
The Bruins had two outs in the top of the second when Jared Rouse (1-2, 1 run, 1 RBI) belted a double to center field to score Kaile Williams (1-3), followed by a hit by Mateo Sanchez (1-2, 1 RBI) to send Luke Story (2-2, 1 run) home to tie the game at 2-2.
St. Bede grabbed the lead when Kane Clendenen send a grounder past the second base bag to score Rouse and make it a 3-2 Bruins advantage.
The Pioneers loaded the bases in the third inning and tied the score 3-3 when Xavier Lara drew a walk and Sheets was allowed to cross home plate.
St. Bede attempted to answer back in the fourth inning when they loaded the bases with two outs, but Story was tagged out at home after Ben Bernabei headed to first base on a dropped third strike.
The fifth inning saw the Bruins again load the bases, but their hopes for another score were dashed when Trevor Mooney was tagged out between third base and home plate on a squeeze play.
It went from bad to worse for the Bruins in the bottom of the fifth when Sheets dashed home after a bad throw to third base, followed by a score by VanDerGinst to grab a 5-3 Pioneers lead, which they would keep for a winning score one and a half innings later.
“It was a good ball game until that fifth inning, where we didn’t play very good defense,” Booker said. “We kicked the ball around a little bit, we walked a guy, and they took full advantage of that.”
Bernabei replaced Grammer on the mound for St. Bede and promptly struck out three of the next four Alleman batters. However, a strikeout and a double play snuffed out the Bruins’ batters’ next go at a rally in the top of the sixth, and they could only get one man on base in the seventh.
“We fell short of our goals,” Booker said. “But I think it’s the first time these guys that are seniors have ever played for a championship.
“They fell a little short, but they competed.”