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St. Vincent Goes Down Swinging (Literally) | MSHSAA

From The Mean Streets Of Mound City

by Mickey Mounds
Contributor, covering Missouri’s Bootheel and St Louis

Mickey has spent a good deal of his sports-writing career trying to convince people that championships are not the one and only benchmark of success in sports.

Winning consistently over time, for example, is equally noteworthy. All competitions are organized with the goal of a creating a competitive, level playing field; every team’s record averaged together always equals .500, so beating those odds year after year is a remarkable accomplishment.

Another great feat is when a laughable underdog, written off from the start, manages to make noise on the big stage and nearly prevails. Tom Watson nearly capturing the British Open at age 58, for instance, is more impressive than many championships won by linksmen in their 30s.

And then there is the average squad from a small high school that somehow manages to take a kick at a State Championship can. It doesn’t happen very often – certainly with less frequency than Packers, Yankees or Penguins making the playoffs.

The St. Vincent Indians were the last club anyone would have expected to contend for a MSHSAA baseball title in 2017. Not only did the squad carry a losing record into the playoffs, they were stuck in District 3 with Valle Catholic, a perennial division-killer.

But contend the Indians did, with timely RBI hitting and a suddenly-stubborn pitching staff that held Valle to just 2 runs in a miraculous District upset. The Perryville, MO school’s surprise run to the Class 2 semifinals culminated in an epic showdown with Canton High on Thursday, a game filled with drama and irony.

Canton’s starting ace Lance Logsdon is one of those kids who can dominate a prep baseball game – on the mound and at the plate. Not only did Logsdon hold the upstarts to just 3 hits, the fearsome 6′ 2″ junior walked on 3 of his 4 at-bats, giving CHS manager Clint Smith the chance to engage in a little chicanery.

MSHSAAMSHSAA rules allow position players to be replaced and then return at will. Whenever Logsdon walked, Smith’s son Koy would pinch-run for added speed. Manufacturing runs while their stud starter drilled accurate fastballs, the Tigers built a 3-0 lead.

But St. Vincent fought back with a rally in the 4th, Tyler Unterreiner and Ethan Pecaut reaching on a walk and a single respectively before each scoring small-ball runs of their own. That’s when things really got interesting.

Trailing 3-2, the Indians loaded the bases with 2 out in the bottom of the final inning. The club had already missed a chance to tie in the 7th when, with runners in scoring position, senior Tyler Monier‘s line-drive down the 3rd base line was barely fielded.

Logsdon had thrown over 90 pitches, and was facing talented senior Blake Hennemann with the winning run at 2nd base. But the team with the knack for clutch scoring couldn’t pull it off, as Hennemann grounded out up the middle.

The brave SVHS boys had worn down Canton to the point that the Tigers were no match for Mansfield in the 2A final, losing 16-3. St. Vincent may not have won what would have been the unlikeliest MSHSAA title in recent memory – but the hearts of any non-partisan fans at CarShield Field had to be with the Indians by the end.

In other MSHSAA championship news…

…the Valley Park Hawks were unexpectedly stoned and shut-out by powerful ace Graysan Peneston of South Callaway in the Class 3 title game. Valley Park junior Dalton Roskowske, who hit a walk-off single to vanquish West County on Wednesday, managed 3 hits – but his teammates combined for only 2 in a devastating 4-0 loss.

Bell City won the Class 1 MSHSAA Championship as expected, while the Westminster Wildcats were shocked by underdog St. Louis squad Lutheran South in the 4A semifinals. Senior pitcher Noah Stone allowed only 2 hits, and a brief Justin Budrovich-led rally in the 1st inning was all the Lancers needed to prevail 2-1. The Black & Gold will play for a Missouri title against the 26-2 Aurora Houn’ Dawgs in another David vs Goliath scenario.

The Missouri State Bears have reached the NCAA Tournament despite not winning their conference title in the postseason. Your loyal reporter made another boo-boo last week by implying that an MVC championship would propel MSU into the “World Series” – no one reaches the NCAA World Series without playing their way through the Round-of-64! But having won 22 games in a row at one point, the 2017 Bears will have every opportunity to do so.

Finally, the Crowder College Roughriders made a valiant run at the NJCAA Division 1 title but lost 11-5 in the tournament’s elimination round, to Cowley County Community College. (That result makes for an interesting scoresheet: CCCC 11, CC 5.) The D1 final between San-Jacinto North and Chipola is airing this weekend on MLB network.

 

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