MTHS topples two for sectional title

Drew Veskauf TimesNewspapers
The Metamora varsity baseball team stands with its sectional championship plaque after an 8-4 win over Peoria Notre Dame at Veteran’s Park in LaSalle Saturday.

Two solid victories for the Metamora varsity baseball team earned them a sectional title in post-season action.

The Redbirds first took down Rock Island Alleman 10-5 and then Notre Dame 8-4.

Metamora 10, Alleman 5

In the LaSalle sectional semifinal, the Redbirds were able to defeat the Pioneers from Rock Island Alleman (22-13) 10-5 from 13 hits and eight earned runs.

Alleman reached the sectional semifinals after winning the Chillicothe regional title with a 9-2 win over Geneseo.

Metamora in the home dugout had two big offensive innings and behind sophomore pitcher Geremy Guerrero, the defense allowed the Redbirds to lose the lead briefly for half an inning in the fifth.

Four early runs were scored by Metamora in the bottom of the first.

“They were very talented and when you get into this point in the season you want to get on them early and get on there heals a little bit,” coach Eric Stone said.

“Offensively we’ve been playing our best baseball of this year.”

Peyton Biernat got on base first after being hit at the plate. Brady Fairfield followed with a double to right field on the first pitch and then a grounder to left by Ethan Skender put Biernat home for the first run.

With Fairfield on third and Skender on second off a stolen base, Brendan Nachtrieb then knocked to left for a double RBI off of the two on base.

Aggressive base stealing put Nachtrieb on third and Caleb Brachbill on second after his grounder to left.

On a 2-2 count, Jake Guede grounded out to third but gave Nachtrieb enough time for the last run of the inning.

In the fourth, Alleman posted its first two runs to the board from an RBI to third and an error on third.

The Redbirds went 3-up-3-down in the bottom of the half and Alleman came out again in the fifth to take a 5-4 lead from another three runs scored.

Two runners were on base when the Pioneer’s Gunnar Haskins slammed one out of the park over right for a three-run homer with two outs.

Guerrero was able to strikeout the following at bat before any more damage could be done.

Skender leading off in the fifth doubled to center and reached third from a balk.

With Beenders at the plate, he grounded out 

to third and put Skender home for the tying run.

“Drew Beenders has done some damage in those situations. So we feel good about him in the four spot after Ethan (Skender),” Stone said.

Guerrero threw another two strikeouts in the top of the sixth for Alleman to go 3-up-3-down before Metamora put in five runs in the bottom.

Guerrero and Zach Theiler were putout in the first two at bats and then the hits started to role in.

Biernat at the start of the order singled to center and Fairfield doubled to left. Alleman intentionally walked Skender to load the bases and then Beenders was hit by a pitch for Biernat to walk in a run.

Nachtrieb batting next had another two RBIs off a single to left for Fairfield and Skender to score.

A vital error by Alleman’s center fielder allowed Beenders and Nachtrieb to get across the plate off of Brachbill’s grounder.

The Pioneers next three batters in their last chance in the seventh were all put out from a grounder to Brachbill at third and then two more to Fairfield at second.

Guerrero earned thew in with six strikeouts on seven innings pitched.

Nachtrieb led with four RBIs after going 2-for-4. Brachbill and Fairfield were each 3-for-4.

Metamora 8, Notre Dame 4

A fight for the sectional title at LaSalle Saturday gave way to a Redbird victory over Notre Dame, 8-4.

Metamora was up on the Irish 8-0 before the ND’s first runs were scored in the bottom of the fifth and sixth.

“We kind of put them on their heels a little bit and it was up to us to tack on runs and you want to put as many runs on the board because that team of that caliber will attack,” Stone said.

Biernat started off the scoring for the Redbirds from an in-the-park homer to left on a 1-1 count. Fairfield was able to double to center on the next at bat and Skender walked but were stranded before any more runs were scored.

In the third, six hits paved the path for another four Redbird runs.

Beenders, Nacthrieb and Brachbill occupied the bases when Guede doubled to right off a fly to send Beenders and Nachtrieb home.

Guerrero up next knocked one to left for two RBIs off Kennell and Brachbill scoring.

Metamora took a 6-0 lead in the fourth after a sacrifice fly put Biernat in for a run.

The last runs for Metamora came in the fifth. Brachbill was hit and Guede was safe at first off a sacrifice bunt. Theiller batting next grounded to left and a ND error allowed Brachbill and courtesy runner Kennell to score. Two runners were stranded but Metamora did enough for the win.

The Irish put two in off an error in left field in the fifth and another in the sixth off a hit and an error.

Metamora’s defense was able to hold ND in the seventh off a fielder’s choice to second and two consecutive fly outs.

Pitcher Alex Lewis threw his seventh start of the season, second in the postseason, and struckout five.

“Lewis, that was his seventh start of the year. He’s not really a sophomore any more now that he’s started so many games and developed as a veteran,” Stone said.