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Zone 4 American Legion baseball: Ballwin pitcher throws 157 pitches in win over Festus
The Ballwin Post 611 Senior American Legion baseball team suffered a pair of 10-run losses to Festus Post 253 during the regular season.
Ballwin reversed those results in impressive fashion during Friday's winners bracket game in the Zone 4 tournament at Capaha Field.
Ballwin used an ironman-like pitching performance from Dan Droege to send three-time defending state champion Festus into the losers bracket of the five-team, double-elimination event with a 10-5 victory.
"We've been building momentum," said Ballwin coach Sean Rogan, whose squad entered the tournament with just a 17-16 record. "Festus is a great baseball team."
Droege, a left-hander who pitched as a freshman for St. Charles Community College this year, recorded his second nine-inning complete game of the season and his career. He fired 157 pitches.
"He gets all the credit tonight," Rogan said.
Droege allowed six hits and four runs, two earned, over the first four innings before finding his groove. He gave up just three hits and one run over the final five innings and blanked Festus (29-6) over the final four frames.
"I didn't have anything about the first four innings," Droege said.
Droege struck out six, walked two and hit a batter. All of his strikeouts came over the final four innings.
"I got going," Droege said. "My fastball was tailing and my curve was dropping."
Rogan said Droege faced Festus once during the regular season but was on a pitch count of about 80 and came out after allowing two unearned runs.
"He obviously wasn't on a pitch count tonight," Rogan said.
Droege benefited from a 16-hit attack. Jake Busiek led the way by going 5 for 5 with two doubles, two RBIs and three runs scored.
Caleb Wilkerson had three of Festus' nine hits.
Ballwin trailed 4-0 after 3 1/2 innings and 5-4 after 4 1/2 innings before taking the lead for good with two runs in the bottom of the fifth.