FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS-Averaging six runs per game in its first two American Legion Fifth Division contests, Effingham Post 120's offense went unusually cold Wednesday afternoon against the Belleville Post 58 Hilgards.
Post 120 chalked up six hits off starter Alex Sandheinrich, but ground into four inning-ending double plays and was unable to get a runner in scoring position. Despite a superb effort from starter Alec Quandt on the mound, Post 120's offensive woes were enough to end its season with a 2-0 defeat.
"Absolutely great performance," Post 120 coach Brian Hayes said of Quandt. "Just heartbreaking to see a kid put up a performance like that and not get some runs for him. I take my hat off, he did a great job. I would have loved to see us get a few more hits."
Though Post 120 was held off the scoreboard, it outhit the Hilgards 6-5. The trouble came when a runner reached first base, as the fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth innings all came to a close on double plays turned by Post 58.
"I think when we get a pitcher who gets ahead and throws a lot of strikes, the infielders are moving and they feel more into the game," Hilgards coach Zach Rakowski said. "Nobody is on their heels, and when the ball is hit, they're ready to make those plays."
Much like Sandheinrich, who finished with two strikeouts in a complete-game effort, Quandt let his defense make many of the plays behind him. In his eight innings, Quandt struck out three with three walks, never surrendering more than one hit in any frame.
"Their pitcher did a great job," Rakowski said. "Some days we're able to scratch out a few runs, it could have easily went the other way with how the game was played."
Quandt held a Hilgard baserunner at third in each of the first two innings, but Post 58 was able to scratch a run across one inning later. Adam Bauer was hit by a pitch in the leadoff spot and stole second to again put pressure on the Post 120 defense.