After a rocky start to the season, the Festus Tigers seem to have it all figured out. This talented roster is either blowing out opponents like an offensive juggernaut, or finding ways to win in close games. It’s the best of both worlds, and Festus is cruising at the moment.
Monday featured a 13-1 drubbing of the Ste. Genevieve Dragons, and they followed that up two days later with a clutch 6-5 win over the Seckman Jaguars. Those victories made it five in a row for the Tigers and moved their overall season record to 12-5. They are 11-2 in their last 13 games.
The game against the Dragons was just an offensive onslaught. The Tigers picked up a pair in the first inning before erupting for five more in the second. Brady Nolen got things going by driving in a pair of runs with a single and then, with two runners on, Hayden Bates unloaded for a three-run blast to right to truly open the game up. That made it 7-0 Festus.
RBI base knocks from Jeremiah Cunningham and Tyler Bizzle made it 9-0 after three, and then the Tigers put this thing to bed in the fourth with four more runs. Wyatt Huskey had an RBI double, Bates drew a bases-loaded walk and Mason Schirmer drove in a pair with a liner to right field.
The Dragons got a desperation run in the bottom of the fifth, but couldn’t make the mercy cutoff. A lot of that had to do with Jackson Smith, who got the start in this one. He tossed four solid innings of shutout baseball and allowed just two hits and a walk against for Ks for the win.
The Dragons were apparently scared of Bates after his bomb because he was 1-for-1 with three walks and four RBI. Nolen had a big game with a 2-for-3 performance that featured three runs and two RBI, while Bizzle and Schirmer each drove in a pair.
That win sent the Tigers to Seckman on Wednesday to try and keep the streak alive. It was all quiet on the Southern front until Festus broke out for four runs in the third inning. Bizzle struck again with a two-RBI single to center to get the Tigers on the board, and then Schirmer drove in another with a sharp single to left. Brayden Montgomery did the same, scoring Bizzle and giving Festus a 4-0 lead.
The Jaguars weren’t going to go quietly into the night though. They scrounged up a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning to cut the lead in half and made this a game. Montgomery managed to repeat his performance two innings later though and drove in Bizzle once again to make it 5-2.
Seckman would answer with two of their own in the bottom of the inning, but Festus was still clinging to a 5-4 lead. An RBI single from Schirmer in the seventh gave the Tigers some breathing room, and despite the Jags plating one of their own in the final frame, Festus was able to hang on for the victory.
Ian Brown got the start and the win by allowing two runs on four hits over three innings of work. Cole Skaggs came on in relief to bridge the gap before Trenton Young closed out the last two innings to earn the save. Young made it interesting with four walks, but he never allowed a run or a hit and fanned three in the process.
Offensively, three players did all the damage for the Tigers. Bizzle, Schirmer and Montgomery each drove in two and they all had at least two hits. Schirmer went 3-for-3 to pace the offense.
The wins kept up the momentum for Festus and likely gave these players a little extra confidence heading into a home-and-home showdown with their bitter rivals over the weekend. Two games against a very tough Hillsboro Hawks team should be some exciting baseball, as the Battle for Highway A continues.