Ryan Best is tagged out at home plate in the third inning.

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Alton pitcher, Michael Reeder fields a ground-ball and throws a runner out at first base.

ALTON - Whoever said nine hitters aren’t clutch?

In the bottom of the eighth inning with the score tied at 1-1 Ben Mossman was at the plate for Alton Post 126. He previously struck out with the bases loaded in the fourth and was up with two men on base and two outs.

Mossman wouldn’t let this opportunity go to waste.

He smacked a pitch into the left-center gap, which scored Ethan Kopsie to give their team a 2-1 victory over Belleville Post 58 on Tuesday night at Alton High School in the American Senior Legion District 22 Tournament. Alton improves to 25-14 and advances to the semifinals and will face Edwardsville Post 199 tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Hoppe Park in Edwardsville.

“I was looking for a ball on the inner half, and I saw it, and just knew I had my weight back and exploded on it,” Mossman said. “I was thinking on my last at-bat when I struck out with the bases loaded that I have to come back and help my team out. It was awesome.”

“That’s what we’ve done all year,” Paulda said. “Ben did a great job. He had a good at-bat and had a chance earlier in the game that I know he wasn’t happy with, but in the end, he had another chance. That’s what baseball does best is just a couple innings later he had a chance to win the game.”

For the second night in a row, Alton got a solid outing from their starting pitcher. Michael Reeder pitched 7 1/3 innings giving up seven hits while striking out three and walking two batters.

Ironically he wasn’t entirely sure if he was going to take the mound before the game. Initially, Wesley Laaker was due to start, but he was feeling unwell; thus Reeder was ready to step in.

“Right before the game, I found out. Wesley wasn’t feeling so hot before the game, so they threw me today instead. Paulda told me to be ready just in case [Monday] night, and I was ready to come in today. My defense held out today and that was a huge thing. “I felt completely confident in my defense and let them get ground balls. Just keep [the ball] low, and I’ll get out of it every time.”

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“[His performance] was outstanding. It was one of his best of the year, and he just keeps getting better for us,” Alton manager Nick Paulda said. “We’ve had amazing pitcher all summer. There may have been one or two games all summer where we’ve lost a game where our pitching has let us down. Every time they throw strikes, they get the ball in play, they do an amazing job. They expect it out of themselves.”

Reeder got into trouble in the first inning when he gave up two hits and a walk to load the bases. However, he managed to strikeout the next two batters to end the inning unscathed.

Bryce Parish drove in Cullen McBride on an RBI double to give Alton a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth off Jack Ysursa. Belleville would even things up in the next top half inning when Buddy Gore hit an RBI sacrifice fly.

Belleville was very close to taking the lead at the start of extra innings.

Nick Westerheide tagged a pitch off Zach Knight and sent it all the way off the left-field fence. Jack Lanxon, who took off from first base was halfway to third base as Zaide Wilson fielded the ball. He threw to shortstop Jayce Maag as Lanxon was rounding third. Maag then rifled the ball to catcher and his former Marquette Catholic teammate, Kopsie. The ball arrived in time as Lanxon was a couple of yards away from home plate and Kopsie tagged him out to end the inning.

“It starts with Zaide getting a good read off of the bat going back. When he realizes that ball is over his head, he makes a good throw to Jayce,” Paulda said. “Jayce turns and makes a good throw to Kopsie. It was a short hop, but Jayce gave us a chance with that and Kopsie took advantage of it and made a good tag. It’s a very tough play for three different guys.”

Ethan Kopsie tags out Jack Lanxon at home plate to preserve a 1-1 tie in extra innings.

Cullen McBride makes a catch in right field in front of Ben Mossman.

Third basemen, Adam Stilts lofts a throw to Michael Reeder.

Michael Reeder fires a pitch.

Ethan Kopsie in mid-flight before he touches home plate for the winning run.