Oakville prevails over Mehlville 12-3

By STEPHEN GLOVER

The Oakville and Mehlville Senior High baseball teams not only battled each other Saturday night at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Ill., but also the elements.

Temperatures throughout the game hovered in the upper 30s and were complemented with periods of a light drizzle as the Oakville Tigers hammered out seven runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to come away with a 12-3 win.

Oakville (11-1, 3-0 Suburban West) jumped out to a 5-0 lead after the first two innings, but Mehlville fought back in the top of the fourth with a three-run outburst to trim Oakville’s lead to 5-3.

“With where we’re at, I think we played five decent innings of baseball,” Mehlville head coach Bob Kern said. “What we ran into was an inning where we gave Oakville several extra outs. In the sixth inning, we had three errors.”

The Panthers (2-8, 1-2 Suburban West) were plagued with four errors throughout the game as starting pitcher Ethan Stenger took the loss in his fourth start of the season. The senior hurler gave up five runs in just three innings while walking four batters and striking out two.

“Ethan threw OK, but we were looking for more in terms of innings,” Kern said. “We were hoping that he’d go deeper into the game, but Oakville ended up seeing a lot of pitches from him.”

Second baseman Dan Regan’s hit in the fourth inning scored two of the Panthers’ three runs as he held his batting average at .353 with five RBI.

“Dan’s been a very consistent hitter for us this year,” Kern said. “At the beginning of the year, he was one of those guys we needed to come up big and he’s done that this season.”

The Tigers’ win keeps them at the top of the Suburban West Conference standings in a tie with Parkway South, which Oakville played Monday — after the Call went to press.

“We had gone a little stagnant after the first couple of innings and you have to give Mehlville credit for that,” Oakville head coach Rich Sturm said. “It was a pretty tight game until we broke it open in the bottom of the sixth.”

Oakville starting pitcher Bryan Doyle grabbed the win after giving up just three runs on five hits in five innings. Doyle also walked two batters and struck out three in his first start of the season. He’s 2-0 overall with a 1.56 ERA.

“Bryan had thrown 13 innings of relief with just under a 1.00 ERA, so we decided to give him the start,” Sturm said. “I thought that his overall performance was solid.”

Oakville center fielder Brandon Alexander had a three-hit showing, driving in two runs and scoring two runs. His evening included two triples, a walk and a sacrifice, which brought his average to .450 with a team-leading four triples and five RBI.

“Brandon’s been dynamite at the leadoff spot,” Sturm said. “I think that his approach and poise is such a threat and we’ve got nobody on the team that runs the bases as well as he does.”

Oakville’s Jordan Tipton also had a three-hit performance that included two runs scored and one RBI. The senior outfielder is batting .318 with five RBI.

“Jordan had a great day at the plate,” the Oakville coach said. “Anytime you get a kid with multiple hits and they’re hitting the ball to different areas of the field, you know he’s seeing the ball well.”

The Tigers are back in action at 4:15 p.m. Friday when they play host to Jackson.

“Jackson is well-coached and generally a very aggressive team,” Sturm said. “We’ve always had one to two run games with them, so we expect it to be a very close game.”

The Panthers also are in action at 4:15 p.m. Friday when they play host to Northwest.

“We’re getting to a point in the season where we need to start seeing some results,” Kern said. “We’re going to need to turn some of these tough losses into victories.”