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North County, Farmington to play in title game

FARMINGTON – The conference tournament semi-finals were held on Wednesday at Wilson Rozier Park and when the last out was recorded the top seeds had weathered the elimination rounds. The Farmington Knights and the North County Raiders earned the right to play each other in the championship game at 7 p.m. on Friday. West County and Ste. Genevieve will play for third place at 4:30 p.m.

Farmington 7, West County 1

The West County Bulldogs could not figure out the pitching of Farmington’s Brent Baxley and managed to only have five batters reach base in the entire seven-inning game. Baxley gave up only a walk and hit a batter in throwing a two-hitter.

“He (Baxley) was outstanding today,” said Farmington coach Craig Gibbs. “He was in control of all his pitches and was able to hit his spots. He’s a great competitor.”

West County’s lone run came in the sixth inning after Sean Brake reached base on an error. Brake would score on a single by John Barnett. James Whitehead had the only other Bulldogs hit with a single in the fifth inning.

It took the Knights three innings with only one hit to figure out the pitching of West County’s Jake Blair, but when they did, they teed off on his fast ball with a triple and four singles for five runs over the next inning and a third, before he was relieved by James Abel in the fifth inning.

Abel, starting with a ball two count, walked Luke Vogelsang to fill the bases, and then Matt Usherwood crunched one to the fence for a bases-clearing triple.

West County got back a little momentum when a suicide squeeze by Farmington lived up to its name. A pop-up of the bunt was caught by the Bulldogs’ catcher Richard McCoy with Usherwood already reaching home plate. McCoy turned the double play as Usherwood tried to scramble back to third.

Farmington’s first run came in the second inning without a hit. Two walks and a passed ball set up a run scoring ground-out by catcher Cody Rogers.

In the fourth inning, Vogelsang hit a one-out triple and was joined by Usherwood in scoring position after a walk and a stolen base. Josh Kimrey drove in both runners with a line drive shot off of the top of the pitcher’s mound.

West County 000 001 0 – 1 2 1

Farmington 010 330 x – 7 8 0

Pitching: LP- Blair 4 1/3i 6r 6h 1k 3bb, Abel 1 2/3i 1r 2h 1k 1bb 1hp. WP- Baxley 6i 1r 2h 4k 1bb 1hp, Gonz 1i 0r 0h 2k 0bb.

Hitting : WC – Whitehead, Barnett. Farmington – Taylor 3, Sago, Usherwood, Vogelsang, Kimrey, King. 2b- Taylor. 3b- Usherwood, Vogelsang.

North County 13, Ste. Genevieve 0

The North County Raiders found their batting sights early. The Raiders greeted Ste. Genevieve’s starter Justin Burr with a barrage of hits in the bottom of the first inning. Nick Hulsey started things off with a two-out single.

Hulsey took off running on the first pitch to Nick Eckl, but Eckl hit a Texas blooper to left-center field that had the shortstop and second baseman giving chase. The ball fell just beyond their reach, and Hulsey scored all the way from first while Eckl reached second on the hit that never reached the outfielders.

North County played ‘swap bases’ as C.J. Peterson drove a single to center to score Eckl, but the centerfielder misplayed the ball and Peterson advanced to second. Lance Eftink scored Peterson on a single to right, but the throw home was errant, and Eftink went to second. Burr struck out the next batter to stop the rout.

Wes Foshee greeted Burr’s first pitch in the second inning with a double over the centerfielder’s head. Foshee went to third on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch. Foshee could have stayed put as two pitches later Dan Harris hit a fast ball out of sight over the 370′ sign on the centerfield fence.

The Raiders score three more in the third inning with a RBI triple by Blankenship and a two-run error by the Dragons. Five more Raiders crossed the plate in the fourth inning with the first courtesy of a balk.

Four of the first five Raiders batters hit singles and Kyle Hawkins hit a double just one foot inside the left field line that went all the way to the fence and scored two runs. The North County batters hit two more singles before reliever Wes Hogenmiller was able to get a ground ball to end the inning.

Blankenship, who had an ERA of 0.66 going into the game, gave up only one single to Jacob Greminger, the first batter of the game, and a walk to Shawn Hess, the lead-off batter in the third inning. Greminger also reached base in the third inning on a North County error. Both runners advanced on a passed ball, but were left stranded as Eckl made a diving catch of a foul ball to end the inning.

Ste. Genevieve 000 00 – 0 1 4

North County 323 5x – 13 16 1

Pitching: LP- Burr 2 2/3i 8r 9h 3k 1bb, Vaeth 1i 5r 7h 0k 0bb, Hogenmiller 1/3i (2 batters). WP Blankenship 5i 0r 1h 5k 1bb.

Hitting: SG – Greminger. NC- Eftink 3, Harris 2, Peterson 2, Hulsey 2, Eckl, Blankenship 2, Hawkins 2, Jaco, Foshee. 2b Eckl, Foshee, Hawkins. 3b- Blankenship. HR- Harris.

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