---- — After a number of pitchers tried their luck, the only thing that could stop Saturday's offensive showcase between St. Anthony's summer team and Louisville Post 914 was the uncooperative weather.
The teams combined to score 13 total runs in the first four and a half innings before lightning and a steady bout of rain brought out the tarp with Post 914 ahead 8-5.
"I don't know what the final would have been if we kept playing," St. Anthony coach Kenny Miller said. "Maybe 20-18. They were definitely a good hitting team."
Post 914 racked up ten hits in the rain-shortened affair, four against starter Alex Hoelscher and six off Eric Gurtner in relief. Hunter Clifton racked up a monster day at the plate for Post 914, hitting two singles and a double for a game-high four RBIs. The Bulldogs closed with nine hits themselves, five coming off Nick McKnelly and four against relief pitcher Dylan Walker.
In what turned out to be a tight contest, Post 914 threatened to break the game wide open early, jumping out to a 4-0 cushion in the top of the first. Post 914 began its first at-bat with four straight singles, including Clifton's shot to right field that scored Lawson Britton for a 1-0 edge. After Hoelscher struck out Walker, the St. Anthony pitcher had some troubles with control. McKnelly was hit by a pitch to score Micklautz, who had singled earlier, and a walk to Braden McNeely two batters later brought a third baserunner home.
"Our guys were locked in from the get-go," Post 914 coach John Frech said. "Our guys have that mentality, they've been playing against St. Anthony for years."
Hoelscher walked Jordan Byers in the ensuing at-bat that scored Clifton for a 4-0 edge. Gurtner entered the game for St. Anthony after 0.2 innings from Hoelscher, and got Lawson Britton to fly out to right to prevent any further damage.
The score remained 4-0 until the bottom of the third, when St. Anthony strung together its own four-run frame to climb out of the early hole.
"We got settled in," Frech said. "We thought we were going to coast."
Kyle Bourgeois singled to start the frame, and Jared Having's single to right field two batters later scored Bourgeois and put St. Anthony on the board. Neil Williams brought St. Anthony within one when he unloaded a two-RBI double to left center that had the dugout on their feet. One batter later, Eli Dasenbrock completed the comeback with his RBI single to right.
"I'm really proud of the kids for bouncing back," Miller said. "All but one kid had a hit in the starting lineup, that's real encouraging."
But as hard as the Bulldogs fought to inch back into the game, Clifton erased the comeback in the fourth with one smooth swing in the batter's box. Following singles from Britton, Micklautz and Logan Hilderbrand, Clifton smoked a double to left field that brought home three runs and pushed the Post 914 lead back to three at 7-4.
"Hunter's been locked in from day one," Frech said. "He's a really, really good hitter, he works on his craft."
St. Anthony scored one in the bottom of the fourth off an RBI single from Jacob Lorenz, but Post 914 against answered the call in the top of inning five when Micklautz cruised home off a wild pitch. Then, with Post 914 ahead 8-5 and Walker at the plate, the familiar flash of lightning and a loud crack of thunder sent both teams back to their dugout. When the initial sprinkle turned into much heavier rains, St. Anthony unloaded the tarp and the game was called off in the fifth, just shy of an official game.
McKnelly pitched three innings for Post 914, allowing four runs off four hits and no walks or strikeouts. Walker pitched a one-run fourth with one strikeout. Post 914 is back in action on Tuesday at Fairfield.
Gurtner pitched 2.1 innings for St. Anthony, scattering six hits with three runs and three strikeouts. Will Clausius pitched the fourth and the start of the fifth, striking out one with three walks. The Bulldogs play at Teutopolis Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Braden Layer can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or at email@example.com
Louisville 4 0 0 3 1 x x x x 8 10 1
St. Anthony 0 0 4 1 x x x x x 5 9 0
No winning or losing pitcher declared
Louisville: Britton (2 1B); Micklautz (2 1B); Hilderbrand (2 1B); Clifton (1B, 2 2B, 4 RBI); McKnelly (1B, RBI); McNeely (RBI); Byers (RBI).
St. Anthony: Having (2 1B, RBI); Lorenz (1B, RBI); Williams (2B, 2 RBI); Dasenbrock (1B, RBI); Puckett (1B); Grunloh (1B); Bourgeois (1B); Stephens (1B).