Limestone steals district title

Bryan Veginski
Extending the inning: Morton American Legion Post 318 baseball player Stefan Sauder drew a walk July 14 in the eighth inning of the team’s 5-1 win over Pekin. Morton lost twice in championship games to Limestone to finish second in the 16th District tournament.

A brilliant pitching performance July 15 put the Morton American Legion Post 318 baseball team into a solid position.

Morton stymied Pekin VFW Post 1232, 5-1, at Dave Rodgers Field on the second day of the 16th District tournament.

Ryan Wenell threw 8 2/3 innings for the win for Post 318. He struck out a dozen and carried a shutout into the ninth.

“He pitched great,” Morton Legion general manager/coach Aaron Millard said of the righthander who graduated from East Peoria Community High School.

It was the second consecutive strong start for Wenell, who threw a two-hitter against Troy Triad in the St. Louis Wood Bat Invitational.

Reliever Josh Sellers came on to pick up a save, getting the final out by striking out a Pekin batter with the bases loaded.

The game was scoreless until the fourth inning when Cody Anderson led off with a laser beam home run to left field.

“He got it up in the jetstream and it just took off,” Millard said of the solo shot from the No. 5 Morton hitter.

Matt Workman singled to left and a VFW Post 1232 error gave Post 318 two baserunners with no outs.

Stefan Sauder poked an RBI singled to right to make it 2-0 before Pekin squirmed out of the jam with a nifty 1-5-3 double play.

Matt Schmidt singled to open the seventh inning and eventually scored on a wild pitch, extending the Morton edge to 3-0.

In the eighth, No. 3 seed Post 318 added two more insurance tallies.

After an error and base on balls, Nathan Eigsti delivered an RBI single to center.

Three batters later, Schmidt made it 5-0 when he dropped a run-scoring base hit near the right-field line.

Fifth-seeded Pekin, which upset Washington the previous day, drew two walks and sent seven players to the plate, but scratched across only one run in the ninth.

Schmidt was 3-for-5 and Bryce Donaldson, Anderson, Workman and Eigsti all chipped in two hits apiece for Morton.

Morton 7, Olympia 5 (11): Post 318 knocked off Post 913 July 15.

Morton became the lone unbeaten team left in the tournament after producing two 11th-inning runs.

Post 318 also handed No. 1 seed Olympia only its third loss in 23 summer games.

Anderson belted two home runs and drove in four  to lead a 15-hit arsenal.

Wenell was 3-for-6 with two RBI and Schmidt, Nick Craven, Nick Humphrey and Workman all recorded two hits.

Workman doubled and knocked in a run, and Donaldson and Matt Wiegand cracked two-base hits as well.

Will Headean gained his second pitching victory of the week, coming aboard in the seventh inning in relief of the starter, Eigsti.

The pair combined for 10 strikeouts and eight walks against a ballclub with several members from a high school team that won a Class 2A baseball state championship in the spring.

Olympia scored five unanswered runs after Morton jumped out to a 4-0 after a half-inning.

Post 318 tied it in the seventh before emerging in the second extra inning.

Limestone 9, Morton 7: Post 979 shook off a late-inning deficit to win the first title game Friday.

Down 4-2 after six innings, sixth-seeded Limestone scored five runs in the seventh to gain a lead it would not relinquish.

Anderson and Wenell had three hits apiece, while Wiegand drove in two runs for Post 318.

Eigsti, who doubled, and Donaldson also provided RBI. Humphrey recorded a two-base hit.

Wenell took the loss in spite of seven strikeouts. Blake Uhlman relieved in the seventh inning.

Limestone 11, Morton 7: Post 979 nabbed the district championship Saturday.

Limestone won its fifth consecutive game at Dave Rodgers Field to advance to the Third Division tournament.

Post 979 led 11-2 before Morton (17-16) made a late push.

Anderson and Wenell laced three hits, while Humphrey was 2-for-3.

Anderson knocked in two runs and Schmidt, Humphrey, Josh Lamprecht, Wenell and Sauder chipped in RBI as well.

Wenell, Anderson and Humphrey all doubled, but it was not enough to overcome the sizzling Limestone bats.

Headean took the loss in a starting role for Post 318. Craven and Eigsti also appeared on the mound.

After a loss to Olympia July 14, Post 979 downed Washington, Pekin and Olympia, all higher seeds, before taking two in a row from Morton.