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St. Elmo takes third-place in EIC Tournament

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By Andrew Harner

VANDALIA – In a quick game that lasted less than 90 minutes last Thursday, St. Elmo beat Brownstown for third place in the Egyptian-Illini Conference Tournament at Vandalia High School.

The top-seeded Eagles were coming off of a tough eight-inning loss to No. 4 Beecher City in the semifinals, and coach Ryan Beccue was glad his team came away with the 4-1 victory.

“I was proud to see how the kids reacted,” he said. “You never know how they will play in a third-place game, but they showed me something today by taking care of business.”

Neither team scored until the bottom of the fourth inning, when St. Elmo (7-8) got on the board, and the Eagles added another run in the sixth and got a two-run double from senior Connor Beasley in the sixth.

Brownstown (6-11) added one run in the top of the seventh, but had just two hits – both infield singles for senior Austin Hunter – during the game.

“I don’t think either team is an offensive powerhouse, so we have to scratch and claw for everything we can get,” Beccue said. “Once we got the first run, I thought we could breathe a little bit, and then focus on adding one more here and there.”

Beasley (5-3) picked up the win from the mound, tossing a complete game and striking out 10. Junior Jacob Behrends took the loss for Brownstown, striking out nine in six innings.

Those two battled for nine innings earlier in the season, combining for 30 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings during a 7-6 St. Elmo victory.

On the season, 11 of the Eagles’ 15 games have been decided by three runs or less, and Beccue said that because he has a lot of young players, this fall season will serve them well throughout the remainder of their careers.

“You learn a lot in close games,” he said. “You learn how to make plays, and we didn’t do that against Beecher City, but today we did.”

Both St. Elmo and Brownstown will continue their seasons, finishing up National Trail Conference play and opening that conference tournament on Friday.

Beccue also had praise for Vandalia baseball coach Luke Hohlt and the members of the Field of Dreams committee who helped prepare the fields before each game. They included Tom Lucken, Don Murrell and Steve Hawkins.

“I definitely want to thank the people here at Vandalia, because it makes it big for us to play on this nice complex,” Beccue said. “I know our kids love coming over here, and I do, too.”

Thursday, Sept. 20
St. Elmo 4
Brownstown 1
B: 0-0-0-0-0-0-1—1-2-3
S: 0-0-0-1-1-2-X—4-4-1
WP: Beasley; 7 IP, 10 K, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB
LP: Behrends; 6 IP, 9 K, 4 R, 4 H, 1 BB
Eagles: Beasley, 2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI; Dalton Parks, 1-for-3, 2B; Noah Flowers, 1-for-3; Nick Bauer, RBI.
Record: 7-8
Bombers: Hunter, 2-for-3.
Record: 6-11

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Following the tournament, St. Elmo played its final EIC regular-season game, getting upset by Ramsey, 7-3, on Monday.

Beasley hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the first for the Eagles’ only scoring. It was Beasley’s third home run in the past four games, and in the past five games, he is 9-for-16, with nine RBI.

Waylon Davis hit a solo home run for the Rams in the top of the seventh, and coach Tony Kreke said that getting the second win of the season in the final game will be a boost for the Rams.

Tristan Wesselman tossed a complete game for Ramsey, striking out nine and allowing just four hits.

In the conference standings, both St. Elmo and Patoka finished the EIC season at 4-1.

Monday, Sept. 24
Ramsey 7
St. Elmo 3
R: 1-0-0-4-0-1-1—7-6-2
S: 3-0-0-0-0-0-0—3-4-3
WP: Wesselman; 7 IP, 9 K, 3 ER, 4 H, 3 BB
LP: Dalton Parks (1-3); 3 2/3 IP, 5 K, 5 R, 3 ER, 4 H, 5 BB
Rams: Davis, 1-for-3, HR, RBI, 2 runs; Knisley, 2-for-4, RBI, 2 runs; Wesselman, 1-for-4, RBI; Adam Casey, 1-for-4, RBI, run; Austin Cunningham, 1-for-4; Tyler Pryor, run; Colton Hunt, run.
Eagles: Beasley, 1-for-3, HR, 3 RBI, run; Parks, 2-for-3, 2B, run; Garrett Bartels, 1-for-3; Levi Maxey, run.