SC baseball beats Hermann to win first district title in four years

MOKANE -- Playing in their second straight district championship game, the South Callaway Bulldogs won their first district title in four years (three seasons).

Taking on the school that ended its boys basketball season, top-seeded host, Class 3 No. 5 South Callaway, won 4-2 against the No. 3 seed Hermann Bearcats in the Class 3 District 7 championship Tuesday at South Callaway's baseball field.

South Callaway outhit Hermann 5-4 and didn't allow a walk, but it committed four errors to the Bearcats' two.

Gavin Moore recorded the first of Hermann's four hits, drilling a leadoff home run to center, giving the Bearcats a 1-0 lead in the top of the second.

An inning later, Hermann's Lane Kohlbusch scored the Bearcats' final run on a two-out error by South Callaway's left fielder during Parker Anderson's at-bat.

A big fifth inning ended up being the difference, as the Bulldogs plated all four of their runs then. South Callaway's Jacob Martin hit an RBI single to center, JT Thomas scored on an error by Hermann's pitcher during Ryan Lepper's at-bat, Lepper smacked an RBI sacrifice fly to right and Martin reached home as Owen Rees reached first on an error by the Bearcats' second baseman.

Not only did South Callaway's Martin tie for a team-high one run and one RBI, but he also earned the complete-game victory. The Bulldog allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits and no walks while striking out seven in seven innings.

Trenton Lampkin took the complete-game loss for Hermann. The junior allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks while striking out two in six innings.

South Callaway (21-7) and Hermann (19-14) each picked up the opposite result in the district championship this season than the one they had last season. When the Bulldogs won their previous district title before this season, they fell 9-2 to Montgomery County in sectionals.

"Really proud of our whole ball club," South Callaway coach Heath Lepper said. "We were down early in the game, but they just kept plugging away. They supported and backed each other, and it paid off late in the game.

"The bottom of our lineup started our big inning again. Jake Boese started it off with a pinch-hit single. That was the start of our four-run inning, with Thomas, Daugherty and Martin following him up and Lepper ending the scoring with the sac fly.

"Martin was a true competition (on) the mound tonight. He reached back and grabbed some extra when he needed to and make some big pitches in some big spots. He showed why he's our No. 1 on the bump.

"We're just extremely proud and happy for our boys. This season started a long time ago, and they've worked extremely hard to get where they are, but we've still got more to do. They're looking forward to the next challenge."

South Callaway will host the District 8 champion in Tuesday's Class 3 Sectional 4 game. The Bulldogs' four potential opponents are Class 3 receiving votes Dixon (18-4), Belle (17-6), Conway (13-13) and Steelville (7-6).