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EDWARDSVILLE – The Metro East Bears built up a lot of momentum going undefeated in five games in winning the Ron Bone-Ray Abernathy Invitational tournament in Jefferson County, Mo., over the weekend.
They kept that momentum going Monday night as Tyler Lewis and Tate Wargo combined for a three-hit shutout as the Bears defeated Jerseyville 3-0 at SIU-Edwardsville's Roy Lee Field, running their record to 15-4 on the year; Jerseyville fell to 2-6 on the season.
“Tyler did a real good job for us over at Highland (last week),” said Bears manager Ken Schaake. “He had a little struggle with the control, but once he gets the ball over the plate, he's got good stuff.
“Same thing over at Highland – Tate comes in and finishes it off for us; he's a competitor out there too. That's the good thing – Tate plays at Gillespie and maybe didn't get a lot of recognition up there, but he comes down here and does a good job for us.”
“We hung with them there – we just couldn't get a hit with two outs,” said Jerseyville manager Darren Perdun. “We struck out way too much, didn't put the ball in play, but give the two guys on the mound a lot of credit for a lot of that. We couldn't seem to square up when we needed to.
“We had chances, we had baserunners; we played pretty good defense ourselves and pitched well. There was a time or two where we walked a few guys and they can come back and hurt you; that's kind of what did it today. Other than that, it was a pretty clean ball game both ways.”
The Bears got some big hits when they needed them to score their runs. “(Will) Messer got a couple of hits tonight, got the big triple when we needed it and (Blake) Vandiver early in the game went the opposite way with the ball; he's a good hitter to all parts of the field. He had two strikes and gets a double down the line there and turns around, the next time up, he's got a line-drive single into right field.”
The Bears got their first two runs in the bottom of the first when Kade Burns drew a leadoff walk and came around to score when Cole Hansel singled and advanced to second on an error; Vandiver then doubled home Hansel to put the Bears up 2-0. One more run came home in the fourth when Andrew Yancik led off the inning with a single and was chased home on Messer's triple to right-center.
Lewis and Wargo went on to shut Jerseyville down; Lewis had eight strikeouts in four innings of work and struck out the side in the fourth while getting out of a bases-loaded jam to get the win. Wargo also kept Jerseyville at bay, conceding only a one-out triple to Zach Benware with one out in the seventh before retiring the final two batters to preserve the shutout.
Hansel went 1-for-2 with a run scored for the Bears, with Vandiver 2-for-2 with a double and RBI, Steven Patten 1-for-2 and Messer 2-for-2 with a triple and RBI. John Collins was 1-for-3 for Jerseyville, Jon Woelfel was 1-for-2 and Benware 1-for-3 with the triple in the seventh. Griffin Nash took the loss for Jerseyville, fanning one in 4.2 innings of work; Benware tossed the last 1.1 innings.
The Bears host Highland at 8 p.m. today, then travel to Belleville for a game against the Hilgards at Whitey Herzog Field at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
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