PRINCETON — St. Matthew’s hit their way into the Princeton Fastpitch Church League finals, defeating Bureau Township 9-4 Thursday at West Side Park,
For the game, St. Matthew’s tallied 15 hits, three by Jake Reinhardt, Matt Cochran and Dayton Ince, and two each by Blake Whitson and Jon Henegar.
St. Matthew’s, the No. 1 seed, advances into Saturday’s championship game, needing to knock off unbeaten United Methodist twice in the double-elimination format. St. Matt’s is the defending champion.
Bureau Township got on the board first with Tony Claussen’s two-run single in the bottom of the first.
Michael Robinson got the St. Matthew’s offense going with a lead-off double in the top of the third. He scored on a Henegar single. Reinhardt singled before Ince’s three-run homer to the left center gap. Whitson singled and scored on a Chris Waca double to put St. Matthew’s up 5-2.
BT captain/pitcher Jeremy House singled to lead off the home half of the third, scoring on a RBI double by Zach Rosene to make it 5-3.
St. Matt’s scored twice in the fourth on RBI hits by Henegar and Ince and used Cochran’s bad-hop homer on a line drive to left to go up 8-3.
Brad Snethen was the winning pitcher, scattering nine hits while striking out one and surrendering three earned runs.
Anthony Bauer and House had two hits each for BT. House took the loss, striking out five batters with two walks and seven earned runs.
Church bulletin: St. Matthew’s and United Methodist were as even as even can get in the Princeton Fastpitch Church League. Both finished 7-2 in league play, splitting their season games. St. Matthew’s gained the top seed and regular-season crown by winning their last meeting. ... Methodist seeks its ninth league (tourney) championship since 1985, but first since 2003. St. Matthew’s, the defending champ, seeks its seventh crown. Methodist and St. Matthew’s have met four times in previous finals with Methodist winning three times. Methodist has reached the finals 16 times dating back to 1978. St. Matt’s has made 11 appearances.