WASHINGTON, Mo. - Cullen McBride threw a three-hit shutout, while his teams scored all their runs in the sixth inning, but host Washington, Mo., jumped out to a 5-0 lead after two innings as the Alton Post 126 American Legion baseball team split a pair of games at the Illinois-Missouri Battle, defeating Hannibal, Mo. 5-0, but falling to Washington 10-0 in a six-inning game called by the 10-run rule.

To gain a split against two well-established programs was a good thing, and there were plenty of good things that did happen on Sunday.

"Not bad at all," said Alton manager Doug Booten. "We are accustomed to playing better than .500 baseball, but we faced two pretty good teams. We beat Hannibal first, but we got hung out to dry by Washington, and that's the disappointing game."

In the opener against Hannibal, McBride had another great performance on the mound, needing only 70 pitches to complete the win.

"Great pitching from Cullen, another magnificent performance," Booten said. "Seven innings, 70 pitches. He did great."

It was a different story against Washington, as Bryce Higginbotham allowed five runs in two innings of work in the Legionnaires' loss.

The defense was very solid on the day, and the players kept battling all day, which is a trademark of the Legionnaires. And against Hannibal, there was a key to the victory as well.

"The kids battled hard," Booten said, "and we played good defense all weekend. And if you look back to late in the first game, we worked the count, got their pitcher rattled, and we were able to get into their bullpen. The second game was the opposite.

In the opening against Hannibal, Alton scored all five runs in the bottom of the sixth to get the win, managing only three hits in the game. Ted Webb, McBride and Tyler Steward got the hits for the Legionnaires, with McBride helping himself with two RBIs. Preston Schepers and Owen Macias drove home a run apiece for the Legionnaires. McBride went the distance on the mound, allowing only three hits and walking one while striking out three to get the win.

In the second game, Washington scored once in the first inning, four more times in the second, and pushed across another run in the third to take a 6-0 lead before scoring four times in the bottom of the sixth to end the game 10-0. McBride continued to shine at the plate, going two-for-three, while Adam Stilts, Schepers and Gage Booten had the other three hits for the Legionnaires.

Higginbotham allowed five runs on six hits in his two innings, four of them earned, while walking three and striking out two. Tyler Hanslow threw in the third and fourth innings, allowing one run on four hits, and Webb pitched the final inning-and-two-thirds, giving up four runs on two hits while walking two batters.

The Legionnaires host Belleville at 8 p.m. Monday and meet Troy on Tuesday night, with both games at Lloyd Hopkins Field at Gordon Moore Park. Booten is looking ahead to the back-to-back games.

"They're two very good programs, and again, we're going to have to find a way to win," Booten said. "But it's a good chance to bounce back."

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