MELHS grad Erik Broekemeier.

BURLINGTON, IOWA - Metro-East Lutheran graduate Erik Broekemeier drove home three runs, with teammate Justin Santoyo having two RBIs, and five pitchers combined to stop the Burlington, Ia., Bees as the Alton River Dragons won over the Bees 7-4 in a Prospect League baseball game played Monday night at Burlington Community Field.

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The win put the River Dragons at the .500 mark, both in the second half of the league’s split season at 3-3, and overall at 16-16, and are now in third place of the South Division in the Western Conference, a full game behind the first place O’Fallon, Mo., Hoots and two games behind first-half champions, the Thrillville Thrillbillies of Marion, who are three games ahead of Alton on the win side, one game up on the loss side.

The River Dragons went ahead in the top of the opening inning, starting with Broekemeier reaching on a fielder’s choice, with Santoyo beating a throw to third, allowing Cooper Howell to score and give Alton a 1-0 lead. Preston Wright then singled home Broekemeier to double the lead to 2-0, but the Bees tied the game in the bottom of the fourth, when Burlington went ahead in the bottom of the seventh, tying the game when Landon Akers stole second, and went to third on an error by the catcher, when his throw went into center field, scoring Jeremy Figueroa, then stole third and scored when the catcher’s throw went into left field, giving the Bees a 4-3 lead.

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The River Dragons retied the game at 4-4 in the eighth, when Santoyo singled home Joe Connolly, then won it in the ninth, starting when Santoyo was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, forcing home Dane Stevenson to give Alton a 5-4 lead, and a clutch two-run single by Broekemeier brought home both Connolly and Howell to clinch the 7-4 win after the Bees were retired in the bottom of the ninth.

Connolly had two hits for the River Dragons, while Broekemeier had a hit and three RBIs, both Santoyo and Wright had a hit and two RBIs, and both Diego Murillo and Cole Schrank each had a hit apiece.

Bryce Louis had the starting assignment on the mound, and went for four innings, giving up two runs on four hits, walking one and striking out three, with Harrison Dubois going for three innings, allowing two runs, one earned, on two hits, walking two, and David Headley went 0.2 innings, conceding a hit and a walk. Scott Detweiller got the final out in the eighth, and earned the win, while Carter Hunt pitched the ninth to earn his third save of the year, walking two and fanning one.

The River Dragons and Hoots will play in a three-game series, starting Wednesday at CarShield Field in O’Fallon, starting with a doubleheader beginning at 5:35 p.m. for the first game, then playing again on Thursday at 6:35 p.m., with Alton then hosting Burlington at the Bethalto Sports Complex on Friday at 6:35 p.m. The River Dragons then play the Clinton, Ia., LumberKings in a two-game weekend set on Saturday and Sunday in Clinton, the Saturday game starting at 6:30 p.m., and the Sunday game’s first pitch at 2 p.m.

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