BALLWIN, Mo. - Marcus Payne continued his hot hitting with two hits and two RBIs, while Logan Bogard and Austin Rathgeb combined for seven strikeouts as the Alton Post 126 senior American Legion baseball team won its group with a 5-1 win over the host Ballwin, Mo, Post 611 in the final game of the group stage at the 11th annual Baseball BATtles Cancer tournament, played Saturday morning at the Ballwin Athletic Association grounds in west St Louis County,

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The Legionnaires went 2-1 in the group stage to advance to the last four of the tournament, and will play in the semifinals on Sunday afternoon. The team is now 3-3 overall for the season.

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Ballwin scored its only run in the opening inning to take a 1-0 lead, but Alton came back to score three times in the top of the fourth, then scored twice more in the top of the seventh to put the game away and advance to the semifinals.

To go along with Payne's two hits and two RBIs, Carsen Bristow also had two hits for the Legionnaires, with both Mykai Taylor and Roman Cross both having a hit and RBI each, and Ayden Calvert, Jack Kaylor, and Will Frasier also having hits.

Bogard started on the mound, and went six solid innings, allowing an unearned run on four hits, walking one and striking out four. Rathgeb came in to pitch the seventh, and proceeded to strike out the side in order to preserve the 5-1 lead.

Alton advances to the semifinal, and will meet a very familiar foe in its semifinal in the under-16 red team, who won over Chesterfield 5-1, to go through. The two Alton teams will play each other at 12:30 p.m. today, with the third-place game and final to be played shortly after. Alton then play three straight District 22 games this week, starting on Monday at Marissa at 6 p.m., then host Highland on Tuesday at Lloyd Hopkins Field in Gordon Moore Park, with an 8 p.m. start time, and Alton then plays at Smithton on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

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