TEUTOPOLIS — Like the Teutopolis/Robinson game before it, the Effingham Post 120/Olney Elite game was a close that game exploded in the top of the eighth inning.
After back-and-forth action that saw Effingham enter the eighth with a slim 6-5 lead, Effingham went on to score six in the eighth inning and two more in the ninth to wrap up a 14-6 win Sunday night.
Effingham emerges as the champion of the winners’ bracket, and will play for the district championship Tuesday night at Teutopolis High School. They will either face Salem, Robinson or Olney, the three teams they’ve beaten thus far, and only have to go 1-1 to move on.
Effingham struck first in the third inning, putting together a two-run, two-out rally. Devin Wright, Drew Levitt, Nate McDonald and Dirk Levitt put together back-to-back-to-back-to-back singles, with McDonald and Dirk Levitt picking up RBIs in the inning.
Olney had an answer in its half of the inning with a two-out rally of its own. With a runner on and two outs, Evan Eagleson walked, Ryan Seed reached on an error by Wright that scored a run, and Newton’s Elijah Knepper knocked in two with an RBI single.
In the fifth, Effingham loaded the bases up, and Tanner Traub promptly tied the game with an RBI single. Devin Mayfield grounded to Alex Craig at third with the bases loaded, Craig stepped on third but couldn’t get another out and Effingham took the lead.
With the extra out, Alec Quandt took advantage, doubling in two and giving Effingham the 6-3 lead.
Olney got two back in the sixth off Clayton Ruckman, scoring when Caleb Chesnut reached on a two-out error by McDonald on a throw to second from Traub and an RBI single by Peyton Billington.
The drama would end there, however.
Quandt led off the eighth with a single and scored on a Carter Hayes double to center. A pair of walks set McDonald up with an RBI single, and Devin Wright scored on a passed ball to make it 9-5.
Dirk Levitt doubled in two more from there, and Traub doubled him in to push the lead to 12-5.
Effingham scored two more in the ninth, when Khye Heuerman took advantage of his only at-bat, knocking in Hayes and Kenton Albin with a bases-loaded single.
Dirk Levitt had the biggest day, going 4-for-6 with two doubles and three RBIs on the day. Traub was 3-for-6 with a double and two RBIs, McDonald went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Quandt was 2-for-6 with a double and two RBIs.
Ruckman got the win despite some shaky defense behind him. He gave up five unearned runs on 10 hits in eight innings. He struck out five. Traub pitched the final inning and allowed one run.
Effingham will look to win a district title Tuesday night, with the first game starting at 5 p.m. If they lose, the winner-take-all championship game will begin at 8 p.m.
Effingham 002 040 062 14 18 3
Olney 003 002 001 6 11 1
WP - Ruckman LP - Knepper
Effingham: Mayfield (0-6, RBI, R); Quandt (2-6, 2B, 2 RBI, R); Hayes (3-5, 2B, RBI, 2 R, BB, 3 SB); Wright (2-4, 2 R, BB); Dr. Levitt (1-4, 2 R, BB); McDonald (2-4, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB); Di. Levitt (4-6, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R, SB); Traub (3-6, 2B, 2 RBI, R); Heuerman (1-1, 2 RBI)