The Festus Tigers had a tornado of activity over the weekend, and showed what kind of moxie this year’s team has got. Wins over Potosi, Fort Zumwalt South, Graves County and Webster Groves boosted the Boys Varsity record to 6-2 on the season. Their only stumble was a loss to MCHS after the Potosi game, but the Tigers are on a current three game winning streak.
The week kicked off on Thursday with an offensive explosion in a 17-8 win over Potosi. The Tigers started hot with three runs in the first before tacking on five more in the third. Potosi hung tight though, as they managed seven of their own to keep the game at nail-biter status. Then, feeling things were a little too close for comfort, Festus erupted for eight runs in the sixth and went on to take the contest 17-8.
Ian Brown and Jackson Gross had tremendous offensive games with four RBI each and reached base a combined nine times. Connor McDonald had a big day as well with three RBI of his own. On the bump, Brown and McDonald each threw three innings, allowing eight runs, but only four of them were earned and the duo racked up seven Ks.
Next up the Tigers traveled to Kentucky for a weekend showcase. First they took on MCHS and lost a late-inning heart-breaker. MCHS went up 3-0, but the Tigers clawed their way back into the game with a run in the third and then two more in the sixth to tie the game at three. An RBI-groundout and a sac fly got them back in the game, but a big two-run double in the bottom half of the inning sealed Festus’ fate. They failed to score in the top of the 7th and fell 5-3, dropping their season record to 3-2.
The Tigers quickly rebounded after the loss though, as they hosted Fort Zumwalt South and got back to their winning ways. Festus was down 2-1 after the first, but Hayden Bates blasted a two-run homer to left to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead. They tacked on an insurance run in the fifth and held off an abbreviated Zumwalt comeback in the sixth to take home the 4-3 victory.
Bates was the hero in this one with his big fly, but he also went a perfect 2-for-2 at the dish with three RBI and reached via HBP. On the mound, Nate Moore dazzled with six strong innings of two-run ball and notched eight Ks without walking a batter. At this point you could feel a winning streak coming.
Then on Saturday, the Tigers looked to keep the line moving with a double-header against Graves County and Webster Groves. The first game was a cakewalk as Festus jumped on Graves early with two in the first and four in the second. They repeated that feat in the fifth and six innings as well and won the game 12-0. Now, this is something you don’t hear often, the Tigers hit four home runs in this game. Four!
Brown and Gross each blasted a round-tripper and McDonald had two. It was spectacular display of the power that this team is capable of, but we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the pitching performance in this one. Connor Hulsey was a ground-ball machine and pitched a complete game shutout. He fanned just one batter, but was accurate with his command and got Graves County to put the ball in play. His six clean innings featured just one hit and a pair of walks, and the defense was rock-solid behind him.
The final game of the week was Saturday’s second showing, as the Tigers took on Webster in the showcase. It looked like it was going to be a close affair after Webster went up 1-0 after the first and the Tigers responded with two of their own in the bottom half, but the wheels came off after that. Festus dropped a six-burger on Webster in the second and then four more in the third. A run in the fourth was all they needed to trigger the mercy rule and the game was called at 13-3 after five.
The big bats were out again in this one, as Bates launched another home run and drove in four. Wyatt Huskey had a big game at the plate as well with a double, single, two runs, two RBI and a steal. Kaleb Kennedy was solid on the mound in his four innings, allowing just two earned runs and posting a 6/1 K/BB ratio.
The Tiger offense is humming, and their arms are coming around as well. This team looks like a force to be reckoned with this season and they now sit at 6-2 after rattling off three straight wins.