Buckley Dutchmasters clinch outright EI League regular-season title; Max Garey hits walkoff single in game two against Central Illinois Legends

BUCKLEY -- When it comes to celebrations, the Buckley Dutchmasters are seasoned veterans.
 
After the Dutchmasters won 5-4 in game two of their Sunday doubleheader against the Central Illinois Legends, members of the team shared -- along with their usual postgame coolers of beer -- a bottle of Dr. McGillicuddy's Cherry Schnapps Liqueur in celebration.
 
Buckley had a familiar reason to celebrate, as the win meant the Dutchmasters clinched the outright Eastern Illinois Baseball League regular-season championship for the second straight year and the third time in four years. 
 
“It's a tribute to the team that we put together – a combination of young guys and old guys. We're going to put a competitive team on the field. It doesn't matter when we play," Dutchmasters player/manager Brock Niebuhr said. 
 
"If there's a rainout and we have to play on Saturday, we'll be competitive that day, too. That's kind of the way we've been all year long, and that's how we've had some of our success. Every week, we've got a very competitive squad to put out onto the field. Hat's off to these guys who are showing up every week.”
 
In nine of the past 10 years, Buckley won at least a share of the EI League's regular-season title.
 
“To be called champions the last nine or 10 was definitely a good feeling," said Mark Walther, who is in his 10th year with the Dutchmasters. "We're playing a good brand of baseball right now, and hopefully, we can take that momentum into the postseason.”
 
During his postgame interview with the Ford County Record, Max Garey had Ice Mountain water poured on his head as part of the team's celebration.
 
Garey played a key role in the Dutchmasters' game-two victory that included his walkoff single in the seventh inning.
 
“I was just trying to hit the ball into play to get the RBI," Garey said. “I felt really good. It was fun.”
 
Crawling back
During the first 11 1/2 innings of Sunday's 16-inning affair, however, it looked like the bottle of schnapps would have to be stored away for another week.
 
After the Dutchmasters (14-4) lost 5-2 to the Legends in game one, they trailed Central Illinois 4-0 going into the bottom of the third inning of the second game.
 
The Legends scored three runs in the top of the second inning.
 
Nick Quick singled with one out to right field before John Harris hit a single in the next at-bat to left field. Trystyn Schoonover then sent Quick and Harris home with an RBI base hit to right field before C.J. Falls singled to center field to send Schoonover across home plate.
 
In the top of the third inning, Devin Crews reached base on an error and Anthony Bryan singled with two outs to right field before Quick hit an RBI single to left field to left field.
 
“At that point, you've got two options – you can either pack it in or continue to battle," Niebuhr said. "We kept battling and, finally, saw some balls drop.”
 
Trey Russell, a seventh-year member of the Dutchmasters, said he knew that it was not in his team's nature to pack it in.
 
“This team never quits. If we have an out left, we're always going to battle," Russell said. "We have a lot of fun playing together. We all play the game the right way. We just have a lot of fun doing it.”
 
After Jonny Walder walked and stole second base with two outs in the bottom of the third inning, Russell sent him home with an RBI triple to center field. 
 
“Trey Russell got us going," Niebuhr said. "It kind of seemed like, once that happened, we kind of said, 'OK, here we go.' We continued to battle and get better at-bats together and found a way to push runs across.”
 
Prior to Russell's hit, Buckley produced only four hits in game one and seven in the first two innings of the second game. Russell was due for a hit, as he hit 0-for-4 through the doubleheader prior to his game-two, third-inning triple.
 
“I finally caught a break. We needed that," Russell said. "We've been hitting balls right at guys all day. They got a few hits through on which, normally, we usually make plays. It was just a relief to get on third on that hit and get us going.”
 
Continuing the rally
Schoonover and Ted Lingle singled to center and right field, respectively, to put runners on first and second base with nobody out for the Legends, but Walder made a diving catch of a line drive by Falls before throwing to Garey at second base to complete a double play. 
 
Azarelli grounded out to end the Legends' half of the inning before Buckley scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to cut their deficit to 4-3.
 
Schrodt led off the inning with a single to center field before Dylan Post got on base via fielder's choice. Garey -- who finished the second game hitting 4-for-4 -- singled on a line drive to center field to put runners on first and second base.
 
“Max Garey had a day for us. It was a good job by him," Niebuhr said. "He played really well.”
 
Garey did not play for the Dutchmasters in game one.
 
“We've probably got to talk to the manager. The manager probably made a mistake on that one," Niebuhr said jokingly. "We're just trying to continue to work young guys in different spots and moving guys around. Max made me look really dumb for not playing him in the first game.”
 
Jay Eshleman singled on a line drive to center field to load the bases before Jake Stewart -- who finished game two hitting 2-for-4 -- hit an RBI single to center field to send Post across home plate.
 
Josh Krumwiede popped out in foul territory to Azarelli, the Legends' first baseman, but an error by Azarelli on the flyout resulted in Garey crossing home plate.
 
The Legends (9-9) went down 1-2-3 in the fifth inning as Crews grounded out, Levi Ransom struck out and Bryan grounded out. 
 
In the seventh inning, Quick grounded out and Harris singled to center field before Austin Mendell was replaced on the mound by Mark Walther.
 
It was not a great day for the Dutchmasters' starting pitchers, as Mendell allowed four runs -- two earned -- on 10 hits and no walks while striking out five batters through six innings.
 
In game one, Kyle Pool pitched a complete game for the Dutchmasters, allowing five earned runs on 10 hits and two walks while striking out five batters. 
 
“The only issue was not minimizing the damage to one or two (runs)," Niebuhr said. "Kyle was fine other than the one inning where he really struggled – the same thing with Austin. Other than the one crooked number, (Austin) was really pretty good.”
 
Walther struck out Schoonover and Lingle to retire the Legends and send the game to the bottom of the sixth inning.
 
“We knew if it was a tight game, I was going to end up going in there, at least to hold them over until we go to Brock (Niebuhr)," Walther said. "My job was to keep them where they were at and give us a chance to win that ballgame. I'm glad I was able to do that today and give us a shot to win. Luckily, it worked out.”
 
Knotting it up
Garey led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a single to right field and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Eshleman before Jake Stewart singled on a line drive to left field to put runners on the corners with one out.
 
Krumwiede then hit a sacrifice fly ball to center field to send a sliding Garey across home plate for the game-tying run.
 
In the top of the seventh inning, Falls lined out to Schrodt in right field and Azarelli grounded out before Crews single to right field and Ransom walked. 
 
The two runners would be left stranded, however, as Bryan lined out to the shortstop Garey.
 
"There was a bloop single, and then they hit something hard right at somebody. That's just how baseball works," Walther said. “That's how the baseball world kind of works. You just kind of take it with a grain of salt." 
 
“I'm happy for (Garey)," Niebuhr added. "He played a heck of a game today.”
 
Walther ended his relief outing with no runs allowed on one hit and one walk through 1 2/3 innings. He would be credited with the win for Buckley.
 
“We've got a lot of confidence in our pitching staff," Niebuhr said. "We feel really confident that, if we've got a lead late, Walther's going to shut it down for us. Today, he had to come into a situation where we were down a run and held it down for us. We've got a lot of confidence, when he's on the mound, that he's going to get a lot of outs.”
 
'We found a way to get one'
Russell was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning for the Dutchmasters.
 
With Robb Wicks at the plate, Russell stole second base and advanced to third base on a wild pitch. With a 1-1 count, Wicks was intentionally walked before Schrodt loaded the bases with an intentional walk.
 
“We battled," Garey said. "We got baserunners on and did what we needed to do.”
 
Post grounded into a fielder's choice at home plate, but the bases were still loaded with one out as Garey belted a ground ball between Legends first baseman Azarelli and second baseman Harris and into right field to send Wicks across home plate for the game-winning run.
 
“It was a little bit of a battle to get to it, but we found a way to get one today. They don't ask how," Niebuhr said. "They ask how many, and we found a way there in that second game to battle all the way back.”
 
Game 1
The Legends took a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Harris hit a one-out double to left field before Lingle hit an RBI single to left field, on which a 7-5-4 play from Russell, Stewart and Krumwiede forced Lingle out at second base for the third out.
 
In the third inning, Central Illinois scored four runs to increase their lead to 5-0.
 
Falls led off the inning with a triple to center field before Azarelli hit an RBI single to the shortstop Eshleman. Crews and Ransom each singled to left field to load the bases before Bryan hit a two-RBI double to right field and Quick sent Ransom home with a base hit to left field.
 
In the sixth inning, the Dutchmasters tallied a run as Stewart doubled to left field with one out before Walder -- who finished game one hitting 2-for-4 -- hit a two-out RBI single to the shortstop Bryan.
 
In the ninth inning, Walder tripled to center field with one out before crossing home plate on a sacrifice fly ball hit to right field by Russell.
 
In the first inning, Stewart reached base on an error and stoke second and third base and Krumwiede walked to put runners on the corners with nobody out for Buckley, but Walder and Russell struck out and Krumwiede was caught stealing second for the second out.
 
The Dutchmasters went down 1-2-3 in the second, third, fourth, seventh and eight innings. They managed to get one other runner on base in the fifth inning as Schrodt singled with one out, but Post struck out and Falls made a diving catch in center field on a fly ball hit by Rob Winnicki.
 
Like Pool, Logan Talkington pitched a complete game, allowing two earned runs on four hits while striking out five batters and walking one en route to picking up the pitching win for the Legends.
 
At the plate, meanwhile, Azarelli went 2-for-5 and Crews hit 2-for-4 for Central Illinois.
 
What's next?
Although they have already clinched the outright EI League regular-season title, the Dutchmasters look to end their regular season on a high note.
 
“As a competitor, you want to win no matter what. It doesn't matter what the situation is or what teams' records are. You want to win, and that's the mentality we're going to have going into next week," Niebuhr said. 
 
"At the same time, we want to make sure we're getting our work in because we want to be ready come tournament time because once we get to the tournament, everybody's 0-0, and you've got to have your best foot forward right away because if you lose that first Sunday, you're done. That's what we've got to get prepared for, and we'll do that over the next couple of weeks.”
 
Buckley's final regular-season doubleheader will take place at 1 p.m. next Sunday against the Royal Giants at Franzen Field in Gifford.
 
In their previous meeting with the Giants, the Dutchmasters split a June 25 twinbill in Buckey as Walder hit a walkoff homer in game two.
 
"Royal-Buckley's a big rivalry these days, so we're obviously going to try to put our best foot forward," Niebuhr said.
 
Buckley will host the EI League Jamboree on Sunday, July 30, at Scheiwe Field before the EI League Tournament starts with quarterfinals on Aug. 5 and semifinals on Aug. 6 and concludes with a best-of-three championship series on Aug. 12-13.
 
The Dutchmasters will go into the tournament as two-time defending champions.
 
“We'll finish it out," Niebuhr said. "We'll get guys their work and do everything we can to win those games and get ready for the Jamboree and the tournament.”
 
Game 1 
Central Illinois Legends 5, Buckley Dutchmasters 2
CIL 014    000    000    -- 5   10   1
BUC 000    001    001    -- 2    4    2
W -- Logan Talkington, 9 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 5 K, BB. L -- Kyle Pool, 9 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 5 K, 2 BB. 
Central Illinois -- C.J. Falls 1-4, 3B, R. Luke Azarelli 2-5, RBI, R. Devin Crews 2-4, 2B, R. Levi Ransom 1-4, R. Anthony Bryan 1-4, 2B, 2 RBIs. Nick Quick 1-4, RBI. John Harris 1-4, 2B, R. Ted Lingle 1-4, RBI. 
Buckley -- Jake Stewart 1-4, 2B, R. Jonny Walder 2-4, 3B, RBI, R. Trey Russell RBI. Drew Schrodt 1-3. 
Game 2 
Buckley Dutchmasters 5, Central Illinois Legends 4
CIL 031    000    0    -- 4   11   1
BUC 001    201    1    -- 5   11   2
W -- Mark Walther, IP, H, 0 R, 0 K, BB. L -- Shayne McNalley, IP, H, 0 R, K, 0 BB.
Central Illinois (9-9) -- C.J. Falls 1-4, RBI. Luke Azarelli 1-4. Devin Crews 1-4, R. Anthony Bryan 1-4. Nick Quick 2-3, RBI, R. John Harris 2-3, R. Trystyn Schoonover 2-3, RBI, R. 
Buckey (14-4) -- Jake Stewart 2-4, RBI. Josh Krumwiede 1-3, RBI. Jonny Walder 1-3, RBI. Trey Russell 1-3, 3B, RBI. Robb Wicks R. Drew Schrodt 1-2, 2 BB. Dylan Post R. Max Garey 4-4, RBI, 2 R. Jay Eshleman 1-2. 
Categories (3):Prep Sports, Baseball, Sports

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