The Festus Tigers continued their dominant run in district play on Monday, polishing off the Windsor Owls 8-0 to earn the three-peat. In 2021 the Tigers took down Cape Notre Dame to claim the Class 5 District 1 Championship before besting Windsor in a close match last year to win it again. This year the Owls didn’t stand a chance and Festus rolled to another championship with a 20-2 run differential in their three playoff games.
Now the Tigers are headed to the State Tournament, but how did they get there? Well, the red-hot big cats went 24-8 on the season and worked over Farmington in the opening round 5-2. Then they blanked the North County Raider 7-0 in the Semis, and, well, you know what happened in the championship game.
Still, let’s dive into that. The Tigers were the number two seed, but the top-seeded Hillsboro Hawks were upset by the Owls in the Semifinals, so Festus had their opportunity for glory as the highest remaining seed in the tournament. They also had Mason Schirmer on the mound, which is always a bonus.
He was vintage Schirmer in this one and fired off six straight scoreless innings to earn the victory. The talented hurler allowed just one hit and fanned six against three walks in the blowout victory. He had some help on the offensive side of things though.
The Tigers started off the scoring in the second inning with a pair of runs courtesy of a booming double to center by Brayden Montgomery. That would be enough for the victory but Festus wasn’t taking any chances. Neither was Hayden Bates, who crunched a solo homer to left on the first pitch he saw in the third inning. That made it 3-0.
The rest of the fireworks would come in the sixth inning when the Tigers erupted for five more in the bottom of the frame to put it to bed. With the bases loaded and two outs, Cole Skaggs barreled up and smoked a liner into right to drive in two more and give Festus a little extra breathing room. Brady Nolen wasn’t satisfied with a 5-0 lead though, so he went ahead and cleared the bases in the next at bat with a triple to to center.
Jeremiah Cunningham followed that up with a base knock to center and brought Nolen home for an 8-0 lead. Schirmer had done his job at that point and gave way to Nate Moore who closed out the final inning with a perfect seventh, retiring the side in order.
The Tigers rushed the field and mobbed each other in celebration of adding a third straight plaque to their already impressive trophy case.
Bates was the big hitter in this one, going 3-for-3 with a homer, but four other players had two hits in the game as well. Nolen, Tyler Bizzle, Jackson Gross and Wyatt Huskey all went 2-for-3 in the game. Nolen, Montgomery and Skaggs each drove in two runs.
The win sends Festus to the State Tournament and they will face their first test on May 27th against Clayton High School. The Greyhounds are just 14-16 this season, but you can’t take anyone in the State Tournament lightly, so the Tigers will want to bring their A game.