Princeton Fastpitch Church League
PRINCETON — It appeared the Princeton Fastpitch Church League championship was heading toward a second game with United Methodist taking a 7-3 lead after five innings of play over undefeated St. Matthews Saturday night at West Side Park.
St. Matthews had other ideas, scoring nine runs in the top of the sixth inning and two more in the seventh to post a 14-9 victory. The win gave St. Matthews its sixth straight league championship.
“It was a great team win. Down to our last six outs and being able to come back from four down at the start of the sixth makes it that much sweeter,” St. Matthews’ captain Eric Waca said. “Methodist is always a good team, tough to beat. From top to bottom of their lineup, they are tough outs.”
“To be the best, you have to beat the best. We had to go through UMC (twice) and Malden (once) to win it this year. Both teams are tops in the league. Everyone chipped in to earn those wins.”
A one-out walk by Michael Murray started the St. Matthews comeback, the first of six free passes issued by UMC pitcher Bret Lasson in the inning. Jake Reinhardt had the big blast of the inning, a two-run shot to left center near the scoreboard. Owen Rossler and Murray added two-run singles.
“We knew Bret had pitched a lot last week. We knew we had to be patient at the plate, and it finally paid off in the sixth inning,” Waca said.
Waca continued the St. Matthews’ barrage with a two-run shot into the trees in left field to put St. Matthews up 14-8 in the top of the seventh inning.
Dylan Olson had some late fireworks for Methodist in the bottom of the seventh inning with a line-drive homer to right center.
A blooping two-run homer by Levi Bates gave St. Matthews a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Bates brought in another run with a fielder’s choice in the fourth inning to make it 3-0.
Shut out for three innings, Methodist got its bats going in the fourth inning, scoring three runs to tie the game at 3. Bret Lasson had a two-run double, and Noah Atkinson drove in the tying run with a single.
Methodist added four more runs in the fifth, including an RBI hit by Matt Lasson, to stretch its lead to 7-3.
Jake Reinhardt led St. Matthews with two hits, including the home run and four RBIs.
Olson and Bob Bryant (two doubles) each had two hits for Methodist.
Winning pitcher Brad Snethen scattered 13 hits, but walked just one with three strikeouts. Bret Lasson took the loss for Methodist, allowing nine hits and nine walks with one strikeout.
• Church bulletin: St. Matthews’ six-year reign is second most in league history dating back to the 1970s (records prior to that are unavailable). Bunker Hill won seven straight from 2005-11. “Our league has a rich history dating back to the 1940s, so being able to have the second longest championship win streak is pretty special,” Waca said. ... Saturday’s win marked the fourth time St. Matthews has defeated Methodist for the league championship in the past six years, including three straight. St. Matthews has now won 12 championships dating back to 1977.