RUN IT BACK: St. Anthony baseball wins sectional championship for second-straight year after defeating Teutopolis 2-1

May 26—GREENVILLE, Ill. — Did it go over?

That was the question St. Anthony fans had.

Was it caught?

That was the question Teutopolis fans asked.

After the Wooden Shoes took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning in the Class 2A Greenville Sectional championship game Saturday afternoon, Bulldog junior first baseman Brady Hatton drove the first offering he saw from Teutopolis starting pitcher Garrett Gaddis to deep left field.

Outfielder Mitch Koester had a break on the ball and jumped to try and catch it, but the ball just missed his outstretched arm and went over the fence for a solo home run.

"I knew he was going to attack me with the fastball, first pitch," Hatton said. "I knew going up, I was going to take a good hack at it."

"Most situations there, you're taking until you get a strike, but when you got a guy like Brady and you have a pitch, hammer it," head coach Tony Kreke added.

Sam Link followed that with a double. He later advanced to third on a wild pitch and Will Fearday was hit by a pitch.

Henry Brent then lined out to center field before Max Koenig laid down a sacrifice bunt, scoring a sliding Link from third and giving St. Anthony a 2-1 lead.

"Scores runs," said Koenig of his bunting. "If it helps us win, it helps us win. We practice our bunting every day and it comes into play."

Brock Fearday then made sure the lead was safe in the bottom of the seventh.

The junior right-hander struck out Zac Niebrugge looking, Brett Kreke swinging and Garrett Gaddis looking to end the game and push the Bulldogs to the super-sectional round and a trip back to Carbondale and Southern Illinois University.

"Hit the zone," said catcher Connor Roepke on what he told Fearday before the game. "The umpire told me, 'We're going to have a big zone. I want to see the kids swing the bats' and it was both ways, I thought."

Though the umpire wanted that, the pitchers interjected.

Both Fearday and Gaddis were excellent for their respective sides.

"Two great pitchers going at it," Kreke said. "Garrett, tremendous respect for him. Obviously, we've seen him a lot over his high school career, but he was dialed in today. I knew it was going to be tough to score runs."

Fearday allowed three hits, one run and one walk to seven strikeouts and pitched a complete game. Gaddis allowed four hits, two runs and one walk to three strikeouts in six innings.

Chances to score were few and far between for both teams.

Each starter shut down the top of the order in the first inning.

Roepke reached on an error in the top of the second before Gaddis picked off courtesy runner Nick Ruholl and struck out Hatton and Link.

Austin Borries hit a single to open the bottom of the second. Koester was then hit by a pitch and Evan Waldhoff grounded out back to the pitcher, advancing both runners up one base.

Devin Kreke and Zac Niebrugge struck out, though, ending the threat.

Gaddis worked a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the third. Brock Fearday did the same in the bottom.

St. Anthony worked the bases loaded in the top of the fourth after Aiden Lauritzen drew a walk, Roepke got a hit and Hatton reached on an error.

Link, though, lined out to left field to get Gaddis out of the jam.

Brock Fearday yielded a two-out walk to Koester in the bottom of the fourth before getting Waldhoff to fly out to center field.

Will Fearday started the top of the fifth with a base hit. Brent then laid down a sacrifice bunt, but Koenig popped out to short and Adams grounded out, ending the stanza.

Davin Worman started the bottom of the sixth with a base hit. He later stole second and tagged up and advanced to third after Mick Niebrugge flew out to center.

Borries then hit a fly ball to right field, allowing Worman to score from third.

Koester then hit a single and Waldhoff reached on an error before Devin Kreke grounded out to end the inning.

Despite being behind by one run, Tony Kreke mentioned that his team never felt like they were in that situation.

"They didn't bat an eye one time," Tony Kreke said.

Adams couldn't be happier, though he didn't have his sharpest game.

"I think it's great having a team that's resilient enough to be able to handle going down in the bottom of the sixth like that and come right back and punch in the top of the seventh," he said. "It's awesome to have a team that can pick me up when I don't have my best day at the plate.

"I think this is a great group of special guys and we're not done."

For Koenig, this was expected.

"We expected it. Our goal is to get to state, not just get back to Carbondale," he said. "We know what we can do and we're going to take care of business."

St. Anthony will look to advance to the state tournament in Peoria for the first time since 2012.

"Last year, I think the team, as a whole, was just happy to get there. We were content," Adams said. "We had just gotten out of our area, but this year, we have a different mindset. We're not happy to just get there.

"We're going there and looking for more."