A talented left-hander headed to Southeast Missouri State did in Jackson on Saturday night on a mound he hopes to become quite familiar with over the next few years.
Alex Winkelman fired a three-hitter to help Festus Post 253 beat Jackson 4-0 in a losers bracket game at Capaha Field.
"He was as good as advertised," Jackson coach Mark Lewis said.
Winkelman, a 2012 Crystal City High School graduate who has signed to play for Southeast, was in complete control. He struck out 10, walked two and allowed just two baserunners over the final six innings.
Three-time defending state champion Festus remained alive for its fifth consecutive zone crown thanks to Winkelman's gem, but it was going to take a lot of work.
Festus (30-6) played Ballwin later Saturday night in the losers bracket final that still was under way at press time. That winner advanced to today's 2 p.m. championship round and needs to beat Creve Coeur twice.
Winkelman felt it was important for him to pitch all nine innings against Jackson (37-17) because Festus needed as many arms available as possible after being sent into the losers bracket by Ballwin on Friday.
"I was trying to pace myself, trying to make sure I could go all nine innings," Winkelman said. "I was ready to go. A do-or-die situation is a time you want to be pitching."
"I was throwing a slider I used to have," Winkelman said. "They were swinging over the top of it. I kept them off balance."
Cody Harris went 2 for 3, both singles, to lead Jackson's offense. Cody Heisserer singled for Post 158's other hit.
"He had good offspeed and spotted his stuff," Harris said about Winkelman. "He did well."
Jackson only had more than one runner on base in one inning, the third, but a double play ended that threat. Post 158 only had two runners the rest of the way and wound up stranding just three on the bases.
"We just didn't snuff out anything," Lewis said. "You give up four runs, you expect to be in it. But it's a credit to him [Winkelman]."
Jackson left-hander Ian Householder allowed nine hits and four runs over 7 2/3 innings. He struck out six, walked four and hit two batters.
Joe Elfrink worked 1 1/3 perfect innings after firing two hitless innings during Friday's 13-8 win over host Cape Girardeau.
"Ian did a good job, and Joe shut them down," Lewis said.
Festus grabbed the lead in the top of the first inning.
Winkelman, who walked twice, was hit twice, stole two bases and scored two runs, was hit by a pitch leading off. He stole second and scored on a one-out single by Caleb Wilkerson.
Chris Lamprecht's RBI single in the third inning made it 2-0. Winkelman got plenty of insurance in the sixth inning when Connor Eisenbeis delivered a two-run double with two outs.
Jackson suffered a three-hit shutout for the second time in the tournament, including against Creve Coeur in the opening round.
"The pitchers were good," Harris said. "They shut us down. We just didn't play to our potential."
Lewis had few complaints after a season that saw Jackson win just its second district title and first since 2005.
"I'm proud of the kids, regardless of the outcome" in the zone tournament, Lewis said.