ST. PETERS, Mo. - The title of the famous theme song for the Warner Brothers cartoon series Merrie Melodies is an apt description of how the Alton Post 126 American Legion baseball team is going: "Merrily We Roll Along."
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And it sure didn't stop on Saturday afternoon, as the Legionnaires pounded away for a combined 25 runs on 31 hits as Alton swept St. Peters in a doubleheader 12-2 and 13-2 in St. Charles County.
It's the 10th straight win, and 11th in the last 12 for Alton, and manager Doug Booten also thought the theme song was a very appropriate way to describe how his team is going along.
"That's how it kind of went," Booten said. "We played good today, we've been on a roll, and hopefully will continue. We're a team, just great pitching and timely hitting. Just a great effort."
The Legionnaires have overcome a very rough start, where Alton lost their opening two games, and have developed into a team that has played very good baseball thus far.
"Obviously, since the first two games, we've put everything together, and have done really well," Booten said. "It's just a pleasure to watch."
The first game provided a glimpse into how well Alton's played in June. The Legionnaires put up five runs in the opening inning, then after conceding a pair to St. Peters in the bottom of the first, scored twice in the fourth, once in the fifth and added four more in the sixth while shutting St. Peters out the rest of the way to end the game after six, due to the 10-run rule.
Gage Booten led the attack by going three-for-four, while Trenton Segarra continued his hot hitting by going two-for-three with four RBIs. Caden Shearlock, Luke Parmentier and Nick Rayfield also had a pair of hits in the game, while Ted Webb, Preston Schepers, Owen Macias, Kenny Beachum and Caleb Noble each had a hit as well. Rayfield and Parmentier also each drove home two runs, and Macias and Shearlock also each had an RBI.
Adam Stilts was Alton's starting pitcher, and gave up three hits and two runs, both of them earned, while striking out four and walking only one in two innings, while Cullen McBride tossed three innings in relief, allowing three hits and fanned three, and Ryne Hanslow relieved in the sixth, allowing one hit and striking out one as the Legionnaires took game one.
In the nightcap, Alton jumped out in the first three innings to take an 11-0 lead, scoring four in the first, two in the second and five in the third. St. Peters scored their only two runs in the fifth to prevent an early ending, but the Legionnaires got the two runs back in the top of the seventh in going on to the second game win.
Blaine Lancaster, Stilts, McBride, Schepers and Hanslow all had a pair of hits for Alton, while Macias, Webb, Booten, Tyler Steward and Noble all had single hits for the Legionnaires, with Lancaster driving home three runs, Stilts brought in two more runs, and single RBIs went to Webb, Schepers, Segarra, Booten, Hanslow and Noble.
Bryce Higginbotham pitched brilliantly for Alton, going five innings while giving up four hits and the two St. Peters runs, both earned, while issuing a pair of walks and striking out seven. Segarra pitched the final two innings, allowing both a hit and a walk while fanning one to give the Legionnaires the sweep.
The Legionnaires have played great baseball during the winning streak, and are having fun while doing it as well.
"They really are,' Doug Booten said. "It's obviously a lot of fun when you win."
Although expectations were high for the team this season, Booten feels that the team has exceeded all expectations, and he couldn't be any happier with how things have been going thus far.
"We knew we were going to have good pitching, but it's just remarkable," Booten said.
The team's hard work and dedication is starting to pay off in a big way.
"Exactly," Booten said. "One of the things that I talked about today is that we worked hard in the offseason, and today, we were rewarded for that hard work."
The Legionnaires will play a home game at Lloyd Hopkins Field at Gordon Moore Park on Monday night for the first time this season, taking on Manchester, Mo. in the nightcap of a junior-senior doubleheader, with the senior game set to begin at 8 p.m. The Legionnaires then play on Tuesday night at Kirkwood, Mo., on Tuesday and Maryland Heights, Mo. Wednesday in doubleheaders, with the first game starting at 6 p.m., then host District 22 rival Highland July 6 in doubleheader, also starting at 6 p.m. Both the junior and senior teams have played well, overcoming rough starts, and Booten has enjoyed managing both teams.
"It's just a pleasure to watch these kids play at both levels," Booten said. "The junior team's just keeps coming along. It's a pleasure to coach both teams."
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