By Angie Brushwood (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Walnut Grove, MO – The Weaubleau Tigers are heading to the Class 1 Final Four after beating Polk County Conference rival Walnut Grove 5-4 on Wednesday.
Cameron “Camo” Ott (senior) pitched the last three innings for Weaubleau and tallied three strikeouts. Ott’s yielded three early hits once on the mound, but his confidence did not waver.
“It was definitely something that I’ve been working on since I was in ninth grade,” said Ott. “I really like the pressure being put on me especially in these types of games. For these past few games, district championship, sectionals, quarterfinals today, it’s the best feeling in the world. Indescribable.”
Weaubleau head coach Chad Foster knew Ott would be steady under pressure.
“They came out and got three hits in a row on him, but I don’t think it rattled him or shook him in the least,” said Foster. “He’s a confident young man, and I like that.”
Weaubleau scored one run in each of the second and third innings to go up 2-0. In the top of the fourth, Weaubleau’s Briar Tucker hit a RBI single with the bases loaded and no outs, scoring Freddie Wieder. Walnut Grove’s Jon Smith took the mound and cleaned up getting two strikeouts and inducing a pop fly, holding Weaubleau to a 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, Walnut Grove got on the board with an RBI single by Michael Stogsdill with bases loaded to make 3-1. Weaubleau would cut down a Walnut Grove runner at home while Freddie Wieder stopped Walnut Grove with two strikeouts.
Still trailing 3-1, Walnut Grove came alive in the bottom of the fifth. Jon Smith hit a RBI single to score Tyler Davis and make it 3-2. Gavin Fortner’s sacrifice hit scored Ryan Keith and tied the game at three. Walnut Grove added one more run to make it 4-3 after five innings.
In the sixth, Weaubleau took advantage walks which led to two runs and a 5-4 lead.
Walnut Grove ends the season with a 19-6 record. It was a successful season for the Tigers according to head coach Trevor Bowling after graduating a strong group from last year’s Final Four team.
“I don’t know how I can put into words what this team means to me,” said Bowling. “What we lost last year and what we brought back, there were a lot of low expectations. So much work was put in to get us to this point. It stings. I’m so proud. Just to get here, we were so close.”
Ott gave praise to his Weaubleau teammates. “It’s amazing being a captain of this awesome team. They ought to be held accountable for everything, and I love them,” said Ott. “They’re backing me up every play, not getting down on me, not getting down on themselves. It’s amazing to be part of the team.”
Weaubleau advances to the Class 1 Final Four next Tuesday and Wednesday in O’Fallon. The Tigers (19-9) will face the winner of La Plata & North Harrison.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Weaubleau 0 1 1 1 0 2 0 –5
Walnut Grove 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 –4
Cameron Ott, pitched 3 innings, 3 strikeouts, 1 run
Freddie Wider, pitched 4 innings, 5 strikeouts
Sam Rutherford, 2 runs, 1 RBI single
Ethan Foster, 1 RBI (sacrifice hit), 1 run
Freddie Wieder, pitched 4 innings, 5 strikeouts, 1 run
Briar Tucker, 1 RBI single
Jon Smith, 2 runs, 1 RBI
Michael Stogsdill, 1 RBI single
Tyler Davis, 1 run
Zach Hejna, 1 RBI (sacrifice hit)
Ryan Keith, 1 run