Marquette makes a play on a Metro East Lutheran base runner in Thursday's baseball game at Metro East Lutheran. (Photos by Dan Brannan)

EDWARDSVILLE – Joe Garigiola once noted that baseball was a funny game sometimes.

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For example, you can hit the ball hard all day, but may have nothing to show for it if the other team's defense keeps making play after play.

Exhibit A: Metro-East Lutheran's baseball team.

 Metro East Lutheran pitcher Sam Whitmore fires a fastball in the strike zone during Thursday's baseball game against Marquette.

The Knights continually hit the ball hard all day off Marquette pitcher John Hughes, but the Explorer defense generally was right in position to scoop up or stop those hard-hit balls.

It helped result in Marquette taking a 8-3 win Thursday afternoon at MEL's Martin Luther Field.

“We were hitting the ball hard all day, but tip your hat to them, they were making the plays,” said Knight coach Joel Rempfer. “We'd hit them and they would wind up going right to them or they'd only have to take one step over either way to field them. That's how it goes sometimes.

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“We had a tremendous effort out there today; everyone kept battling all day and I can't complain about the effort at all. It just didn't go the way we would have liked.”

The Explorers continued a hot streak they've been on since an 0-4 start, winning 10 of their last 14 games. Much of it has come from some changes in position players and the Explorer offense starting to come around.

“Good team effort for us today,” said Explorer coach Tim Fahnestock. “Our offense has been coming around for us and it's been good to see. We made some adjustments after that start and it's really helped us.

“We made some adjustments early on and they're really paying off for us. The kids are really playing together. We still have three more games to play this week, but I think this will help us as we get ready for the playoffs.”

Marquette broke on top early, getting a run in the first on a Jacob Eggering single that scored Danny Holtz off Knight starter Sam Whitmore and getting another run in the second when Liam Maher singled home Brady McAfee to go ahead 2-0 through an inning and a half.

MEL tied the game in their half of the third when Brad Boivin got a one-out single and Nick Manker was hit by a Hughes pitch. Both came home when Kory Loew stroked a single to tie the game 2-2 through three innings. Marquette wasted no time getting back on top when McAfee scored on a wild pitch and Nate Seiber singled in Maher to put the Explorers back on top at 4-2.

The lead was extended in the sixth when Holtz and Maher drew walks, then Eggering walked to load the bases. A wild pitch brought in one run and a Seiber single plated two more runs. In the top of the seventh, Marquette scored again when McAfee reached on an error, was sacrificed to second and came home when Eggering was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in a run. The Knights got a consolation run when Manker tripled to right to score Paul Kubicek.

The Knights fell to 12-13 on the year and will face Breese Central Monday, while the Explorers are at Jacksonville Routt Friday and at Cahokia for a Saturday doubleheader.

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