CHILLICOTHE, Ohio - The Alton River Dragons held a 4-0 lead after six innings in the third and deciding game of the Prospect League Championship Series, but in a stunning turnaround, the home standing Chillicothe, Ohio, Paints scored six runs to take the lead after seven, then finished the game with an eight-run eighth inning to defeat the River Dragons 14-4 and claim their third Prospect League title in franchise history Sunday night at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe.
The Paints also won the championship in both 2010 and 2019, while the Dragons were making their first appearance in the league finals in their second year of existence. Alton won the Prairie Land Division playoff game over Springfield, then won the Western Conference playoff game over Quincy on Erik Broekemeier's ninth inning grand slam homer by the fomer Metro-East Lutheran player.
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The first three innings went scoreless, with Alton taking the lead in the top of the fourth. Marcus Heusohn reached on an error by the second baseman that allowed both Eddie King and Alton's Mike Hampton to score, giving the River Dragons a 2-0 lead. In the fifth, Ethan Kleinheider reached on a fielder's choice, which allowed Cameron Hailstone to score, giving Alton a 3-0 lead, then in the sixth, Hailstone singled home Gunnar Doyle with the run that made the score 4-0 for the River Dragons.
Chillicothe started its comeback in the seventh with RBI singles by Gianni Passarelli and Brett Carson to cut the Alton lead to 4-2. Jake Reifsnyder then scored on a wild pitch to pull the Paints to within 4-3 and Santel Farmer stroked a RBI single to center, scoring Passarelli with the tying run that made it 4-4. Tim Orr doubled home the lead run and a sacrifice fly by Nate Dorinsky gave the Paints a 6-4 lead after seven.
The eighth inning started with a bases-loaded walk to Kade Wroot that made the score 7-4, with a sacrifice fly by Tommy Thamann giving the Paints another run that made it 8-4. A two-run single by Dorinsky increased the lead to 10-4, Mike Sprockett reached first on an error that allowed another run to score and a bases-clearing double by Carson scored three runs to end the game 14-4 on the ten-run rule, giving Chillicothe the Prospect League championship.
Hailstone led the way for the River Dragons with two hits and a RBI, while Hampton had a pair of hits, both King and Doyle had a hit apiece and Kleinheider drove in a run. Alex Redman was the starting pitcher and had a magnificent game, allowing only three hits while walking one and striking out three. Carson Richardson from Collinsville, Brady Salzman and Ryne Hanslow, both from Piasa Southwestern, Brokemeier and Hampton also pitched for Alton in the game.
The River Dragons conclude their season with an overall regular season record of 35-30, first in the Prairie Land division, and got great contributions from the local contingent of Hampton, Adam Stilts and Robby Taul from Alton, Richardson, Blake Burris and Kleinheider from Edwardsville, Bryce Zupan from Civic Memorial, Heusohn, from Waterloo, Brokemeier, Salzman and Hanslow, along with the other players on the roster. It was a season to remember for the River Dragons, who enjoyed tremendous fan support all season, and now look ahead to the 2023 season under manager Darrell Handelsman and coaches Butch Chapman and Jerrod Brisselman.
Stilts Holds Paints To One Hit In Nearly Eight Innings, Hampton, Burris Drive Home Runs As River Dragons Win 2-0
CHILLICOTHE, Ohio - The local contingent of the Alton River Dragons carried the club on Saturday night, as Alton's Adam Stilts held the Chillicothe, Ohio, Paints to one in in seven-and-two-thirds innings and Alton's Mike Hampton and Edwardsville's Blake Burris came through with the RBIs as the Dragons defeated the Paints 2-0 in Game Two of the 2022 Prospect League Championship Series at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe.
The win allowed the River Dragons to tie the best-of-three series at one game each and force a third and deciding game Sunday night at Chillicothe.
It was a tight game throughout, with Alton breaking out on top in the third when Hampton's sacrifice fly to right brought in Bryce Zupan of Civic Memorial with the game's first run. It stayed that way until the seventh, when Burris stroked a bases-loaded RBI single to left, scoring Cameron Hailstone with the insurance run that made the final 2-0.
Burris had two hits and a RBI to lead the River Dragons, with Ethan Kleinheider also having a pair of hits, Eddie King and Hailstone each had a hit and Hampton had the other RBI. Stilts stymied the Paints all evening long, allowing the one hit over his seven-and-two-thirds innings, walking two and striking out six to gain the win. Colton Huntt threw the final inning-and-a-third, scattering three hits while walking one and fanning three to earn the save, his third of the season.