By RYAN CZACHORSKI
---- — WEST FRANKFORT — Despite trailing 3-0 entering the bottom of the sixth inning against Breese Post 252, Altamont Post 512 did it again, coming back and keeping its season alive with a walkoff 4-3 win. It was the Post's second walkoff win in as many games, and the third of the postseason tournament for Altamont. Post 512 defeated Effingham on a walkoff single by Aaron Goeckner in districts and won Sunday's must-win game against Vandalia on a walkoff single by Brandon Helmuth.With the bases loaded and a tied game, Klaiton Wolff's broken-bat ground ball was enough to score Nick Miller, who beat the throw to the plate and won the game with a nifty slide. "These guys, the individuals never quit, they believe in each other, they believe in their teammates," said Altamont coach Jeff Fritchtnitch. "We just kept plugging away and plugging away and we never quit."The win boosted Altamont to the losers' bracket finals later that day, as Altamont took on Bethalto for a right to go to state.Post 512 began chipping away at the lead in the sixth inning, as five straight Altamont batters reachd base, culminating in an RBI single by Jacob Miller to make it 3-1 with two outs. They'd only get one and leave the bases loaded after Devon Guerrettaz popped out to end the inning. That would be the last out Breese recorded. Brandon Rickter came in to pitch, hitting Brady Winn and giving up a bloop single to Ryan Armstrong. He was pulled in favor of Dylan Laquasto to no avail.Nick Miller laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line to advance the runners and reached easily on a bunt single. Winn scored on an RBI single by Helmuth, and Armstrong scampered home on a wild pitch to tie the game. Goeckner reached on an error at first to re-load the bases. Wolff's ground ball went just far enough despite snapping his bat in two, and catcher Houston Kruse couldn't corral the ball to prevent Nick Miller from scoring the winning run. "We were pretty selective with taking pitches," Fritchtnicht said. "Our guys made it happen when they needed to make it happen."Altamont had the first scoring chance of the game in the fourth inning after Helmuth reached on a single. Altamont had runners on first and third with one out for Cole Borders.Borders attempted a safety squeeze and bunted the ball straight up to Chandler Harr. Helmuth slipped on his way back to third for an easy inning-ending double play. Helmuth also was the first of five runners to reach in the sixth down 1-0, but was gunned out trying to steal.Fritchtnicht didn't regret either of the earlier unsuccessful tactics. "We could dwell on the negatives, but we don't," he said. "You have to take some chances at this level. They have to make a perfect catch and a perfect throw to make that happen. We could have folded up the tent there, but we didn't."Altamont's defensive play almost cost them. All three Breese runs were unearned. Kruse reached on an error in the fifth and scored after a bunt single and a sacrifice bunt that scored him. In the sixth, Dakota Anes reached on an error and scored on a one-out sacrifice fly by Lucas Haukap. Altamont tried to cut down Brent Timmons at third on his tag-up attempt, but Armstrong's throw went wide of Guerrettaz at third and into the Breese dugout. The errant throw resulted in a free base for Timmons and a run. Still, like they have throughout the postseason, Altamont fought back and advanced within a game of state. Caden Miller tossed all seven innings for Altamont. He earned the win after allowing three unearned runs on eight hits, striking out and walking two batters apiece. Helmuth was a force both in the field and at the plate, going 4-for-4 with an RBI, a double and a stolen base. Armstrong, Wolff and Jake and Nick Miller each had a hit for Altamont. " What we always do is (try) to keep the game close and have a chance to win at the end of the game," Fritchtnicht said. "It's easy to coach these guys, they do whatever we ask."Altamont moved on to the losers' bracket championship at 4 p.m to face playing Bethalto, fresh off its win during the 12 p.m. game.
Breese Post 252	000	012	0	3 8 1Altamont Post 512	000	001	3	4 8 3WP - C. Miller LP - Laquasto