With run differential being the deciding factor, St. Clair hosted the championship bracket of the Four Rivers Baseball Classic Saturday.
St. Clair, Washington and Festus all finished with 1-1 records in Pool B. St. Clair won the tiebreaker and hosted the three other first-place pool teams.
Three of the four games Saturday in the championship bracket were decided by one run, including a 6-5 Rolla victory over St. Clair in the third-place game.
The one game that wasn’t a one-run outcome turned out to be a two-run win by Pacific over St. Clair in the semifinals, 4-2.
In the third-place contest, St. Clair took a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning, but Rolla scored two runs in its final at-bat to win the game.
“The coaching staff has a lot of faith in this team. We are confident that we will be able to pull these games out by the end of the season,” said St. Clair Head Coach Rob Hauck. “Our schedule is difficult at the start of the year, but that will only make us stronger by the end of the season. Our goal is to be our best when districts roll around. The way we’re playing now, if we achieve our goal, we will be a hard team to beat.”
Kody Halmich, a freshman, got the start on the mound for the Bulldogs of St. Clair. In six innings, he allowed four runs, two earned, on five hits with four walks and two strikeouts.
Ben Feddersen worked the seventh inning and suffered the loss. In a third of an inning, he allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits with one strikeout.
“We started off rough in the first inning,” Hauck said. “We have a lot of confidence in Halmich as a freshmen and he was able to settle down and ended up pitching a very nice game for us.”
St. Clair (1-5) rallied to grab a 5-4 lead only to see Rolla rally in the bottom of the seventh.
“We started off rough after a tough loss to Pacific and then having to come straight back to play against Rolla,” Hauck said. “Once we settled down and got into the game, we were able to make a nice comeback.”
Ayden Carey led St. Clair at the plate by going 3-4 with two doubles, three RBIs and one run.
Austin Gotway reached base three times with one hit and was hit by a pitch twice. He also scored a run.
Dylon Nappier had one hit, was hit by a pitch and scored a run.
Blake Dierking finished with one hit and one RBI.
Despite suffering two close losses in the championship bracket, Hauck liked what he saw from his team.
“We put ourselves in situations to drive in runs and allowed us an opportunity to win,” Hauck said. “It’s nice to see us be able to hang in these games early in the year, and how we were able to come back when we get down.”