North County 4, De Soto 3
STE. GENEVIEVE – Cole Ziegler hammered the first pitch from reliever Levi Fischer into right-center field, and propelled North County into the Class 4, District 2 title game.
The senior center fielder singled home Karter Kekec with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to lead the Raiders past De Soto 4-3 on Wednesday.
Cody Hubbard pitched six quality innings with two strikeouts, and yielded two earned runs on seven hits in a no-decision before Shelby Lee picked up the win in relief.
North County (15-9-1) will face top seed Ste. Genevieve for the championship on Thursday in the fourth matchup this season between the MAAA Large-School rivals.
Kolten Poorman and Hubbard each finished 2-for-3, and Kekec reached base four straight times on a single, double and two errors for the Raiders.
Poorman fielded a ground ball from his shortstop position to execute a double play in the top half of the seventh after Lee surrendered a single to Nick Krodinger.
Dieterich Guertzgen pitched the first 6 2/3 innings with four strikeouts for De Soto, but suffered the loss when a two-out placed Kekec aboard.
Hubbard followed with a shallow fly ball that landed in proximity to two outfielders, and Poorman was issued an intentional walk after Guertzgen reached his pitch limit.
Ziegler delivered the game-winner on his next swing, and atoned for a failed sacrifice attempt as North County threatened one frame earlier.
Kekec sliced an RBI double to right, and snapped a 2-2 tie during the bottom of the fifth after Devin Seastrand opened the inning with a single.
Garrett Hardin answered with his own clutch single to make it 3-3 in the sixth, and paced De Soto (11-10) by going 3-for-3 with two RBI from the No. 9 spot in the lineup.
Guertzgen picked off Kekec in the first inning, but Lee legged out an infield hit before crossing the dish on a Seastrand ground out in the second.
The Dragons turned a double play to complete the third, but not before Poorman drove in Kekec with an RBI single for a 2-0 margin.
Hubbard carried a shutout bid through four innings. De Soto pulled even, however, on three consecutive hits as Briar Fischer tripled ahead of singles from Hardin and Levi Fischer.
Raiders second baseman Nate Roberts began the contest with an excellent diving stop of the middle to retire the speedy Levi Fischer.
Hunter Dill singled and added a tying squeeze bunt for De Soto.
Ste. Genevieve 7, Potosi 0
STE. GENEVIEVE – Chad Donze continued his tremendous senior season on the mound by dealing a complete game four-hitter for top seed Ste. Genevieve on Wednesday.
The right-hander retired 10 of his last 11 batters, and registered seven strikeouts as the Dragons eliminated Potosi 7-0 in the Class 4, District 2 semifinal round.
Sam Stolzer delivered a pair of RBI singles, and leadoff man Grant Staffen singled twice with two runs scored. Ste. Genevieve (21-4) notched its seventh consecutive win.
Keaton Boyer opened the scoring with an RBI double in the first inning against Trojans freshman Isaiah Arndt, who evaded further damage by stranding the bases loaded.
Ryker Walton went 2-for-3 to pace Potosi (7-13), but was caught stealing by Stolzer to diminish a threat in the top of the fourth after Donze fanned Arndt in a 10-pitch battle.
Ste. Genevieve seized control by notching five runs in the home half. Chase Koller doubled past a diving outfielder, and scored to make it 2-0 on a Stolzer single.
Staffen singled ahead of a bases-loaded hit by Brady Boyer that drove in two more, and the advantage widened to 6-0 when a ground ball was misplayed at third base.
Arndt surrendered four earned runs on seven hits while striking out three. Cory Emily allowed an RBI single to Stolzer in the fifth after Potosi committed its fourth error of the game.
Donze induced a double play that Staffen fielded in the seventh to seal the outcome. The Trojans were shut out for the fifth time this spring, not counting two forfeited games.
Standout shortstop Noah Jacobsen walked and stole a base in his final outing for Potosi before moving on to Southeast Missouri State.
Austin Harris and Cory Emily chipped in singles.