The Festus Tigers had an up and down Saturday, as they faced the Liberty Eagles in a morning/afternoon double header. It’s never easy to sweep one of these two game sets, even if you open with a dominant victory.
That’s exactly what happened with the Tigers. They blew out the Eagles 10-0 in the matinee, but couldn’t repeat their success with a frustrating 5-2 loss in the second game. The win gave the Tigers three in a row and put them over .500 for the first time since their season-opening victory over Fox, but the loss quickly dropped them back to 4-4.
Still, it was an exciting day of baseball. The first game kicked off in the best way possible with Festus taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with an opposite field bomb from Hayden Bates. The hard-hitting shortstop deposited the first pitch he saw over the wall for an oppo taco that would end up being the game-winning RBI.
Neither team would score again until the fourth, when the Tigers used a double from Ian Brown and a single from Trenton Young to plate two more for a 3-0 lead. Then the floodgates opened in the fifth. Mason Schirmer smoked a bases-loaded double to clear all three bags before Brown drove him in with a double of his own. That made it 7-0 and pretty much sealed the deal.
Tyler Bizzle drove in a pair with a one-out double in the sixth and then Braden Montgomery “mercy-ed” the game with a sac fly to make it 10-0. That was a fitting end, as Monty toed the rubber in this one and twirled a brilliant one-hit shutout. He walked two and fanned 10 in the spectacular performance.
Seven of the nine starters had a hit and Brown, Schirmer and Bates each had two. Six different players also drove in a run, with Schirmer leading the way with three and Bizzle and Brown collecting two apiece.
The second game of the double-header wasn’t quite as exciting, at least from a Tigers fan’s perspective. Jackson Gross was on the mound and got touched up for four runs in the second inning. Four hits and four walks did all the damage and chased him from the game.
The Tigers got a couple runs on a Young RBI single and a run-scoring double play ball to cut the lead to 4-2 in the fourth, but the Eagles tacked on an insurance run in the fifth and held on for the 5-2 victory.
Brady Nolen and Bizzle paced the offense with two hits apiece and Jackson Smith and Young pitched well in relief combining for four innings with just one run allowed.
The loss dropped the Tigers back to 4-4 and made their time with a winning record about as short lived as possible. They’ll get another crack at it though when they take on a struggling Jefferson Blue Jays team on Tuesday at home.