STE. GENEVIEVE – Valle Catholic danced on a logistical tightrope between conserving its pitchers and trying to protect a fragile lead on Monday.
The Warriors achieved both endeavors after surviving a dicey stretch during the fifth and sixth innings, and put visiting Kelly away 11-5 following a late five-run scoring surge.
Isaac Viox finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored, and winning hurler Clayton Drury was on base three times via two singles and an error for Valle Catholic (15-2).
Alex Viox was the hero against Hillsboro on Saturday with his two-run homer in the seventh. Although he singled twice against Kelly, his defensive impact behind the plate shined brightest.
The Hawks began the fifth inning by drawing consecutive walks from reliever Isaac Basler, but could only scratch one run across after Viox picked off two runners in retreat toward first base.
Those plays were magnified when the visitors rallied for three runs in the top of the sixth. Dalton Forck and Drew Klipfel greeted Cannon Wolk with RBI singles before a throwing error by Viox made it 6-5.
But the Warriors retaliated by sending 10 men to the plate during the home half. Rylan Fallert walked and Chase Fallert followed with a stellar bunt single along the third-base line.
Nick Christian inherited both runners from reliever Colton Essner, but Isaac Viox delivered a clutch RBI single on a 0-2 pitch with one out.
Drury reached safely on an ensuing error as Chase Fallert crossed the dish, and Bryce Giesler coaxed a bases-loaded walk for a 9-5 advantage.
Wolk helped his own cause by slapping a two-run single past first base in his lone at-bat, and slammed on the brakes while aggressively rounding for a potential double.
Giesler suffered what he initially believed was a hamstring injury, and had to hastily dive back into second. He was then helped off the field while keeping his weight on one leg.
Kelly (10-5) generated two base runners in the seventh, but Wolk completed the two-inning save when Chase Fallert atoned for a miscue at shortstop by starting a game-ending double play.
Ross Peters had two RBI and a single from the No. 9 spot. Mason Eubanks and Christian notched the other hits as the Hawks totaled five overall.
The turbulence for Valle Catholic would not surface until Drury was removed from the mound after four superb innings. He allowed one hit and struck out four while retiring 12 of the 14 batters faced.
With seven games possible this week, including four at a wood bat tournament in Lebanon starting Friday, Drury was only available on a limited pitch count.
He was backed by solid fielding plays by Chase Fallert and Grant Fallert early on, and the Warriors pounced for a 3-0 lead when five of their first six hitters singled against Klipfel.
A couple of infield hits bolstered the threat before Drury delivered with the bases loaded. Grant Fallert lined the next offering to center for another RBI.
Alex Viox made it 5-0 in the second inning after Jackson Fowler looped an opposite-field single and Aaron Eftink reached on a bobbled sacrifice bunt.
Peters brought Kelly closer with a squeeze bunt in the third and RBI single in the fifth. Valle answered as Isaac Viox doubled to left and scored on a high throw out of play from center field at 6-2.
Rylan Fallert was on base three times, and Eftink singled as the Warriors won their fourth in a row.
West County 11, Bismarck 0
BISMARCK – West County handed winning pitcher Ty Harlow nine runs of support before heading to the mound, and rolled past Bismarck 11-0 in conference action on Monday.
Caden Merrill finished 3-for-3 with an RBI, and Carter Reed doubled during the opening rally while going 2-for-3 with two RBI. Two Bismarck errors also prolonged the inning for hurler Jesse Mack.
Harlow struck out seven batters and walked four in a five-inning two-hitter. West County (8-2, 2-1) added runs in the fourth and fifth frames to shorten the contest.
Hudsen Dunlap tallied three RBI while scoring three times. Julian Thebeau, Jaxon Campbell, Lance Monroe and Ben Faulkner also singled for the Bulldogs.
Sven Wilson collected both hits for Bismarck (4-5, 1-2), and Gavin Butery walked twice.
Mack steadied following the rocky start to last 4 1/3 innings in defeat. He fanned three, walked five and yielded 11 hits while five of his 11 runs were unearned.