It started out as a good game between Shelby Sr. Legion baseball and Mattoon, but in the end the scales tipped towards Mattoon, 7-4.
It was a pitchers' duel for most of the game. Shelby drew first blood in the bottom of the 3rd, but Mattoon got some help to draw even. Mattoon infielders made plays and Shelby outfielders made plays, while Mattoon pitcher Austin Warrem rang up 14 batters in 8 and a 1/3 innings. The game wore on into the 8th inning, still tied 2-2.
A Clayton Warfel 1-out bunt was miss-played. With two outs, Mattoon finally strung some hits together. Jordan Webb singled and Riley Walk got the best hit of the night.
The 2-run double was crushed into the right center field gap and not even the swift-footed Shelby outfielders could get to it. Dustin Temple followed with an RBI-single and Mattoon had a cushion, 5-2.
With one out in the bottom of the 8th, Shelby pitcher Jake Keown hit to right field and the fielder dove, but couldn't get it. The ball bounced by and Keown slid into 3rd. With two outs, Luke Hatfield struck out, but the ball went free. The catcher threw the ball over the 1st baseman's head and Keown scored, 5-3.
Keown went into the 9th and got the first batter, but the next two singled. Keown was pulled and Gunner Thies took the hill. After a ground out, Thies gave up and intentional walk to load the bases. He hit the next batter and forced in a run, 7-3.
Shelby was up against it, but Mattoon lifted their starter. The first relief pitcher gave up a walk to Hayden Cole and was pulled.
The next pitcher, Carter Price, threw a K and then two straight walks to load the bases. Vonderheide walked and it was 7-4. Keown came to the plate with the bases loaded and one out, as the potential winning run. However, the Mattoon infielders did their job again.
Keown hit down the 3rd base line and Dustin Temple stepped on 3rd for one out and threw a strike across the diamond to get the game-ending double play.
Christian Vonderheide led off the Shelby 1st with a hit, but Mattoon turned their first double-play, a 6-4-3, Ryan Hutchinson to Warfel to AJ Diepholz.
In the 3rd inning, Shelby center fielder Tyler Hendryx got his third fly out running in and making a diving catch to end the inning.
Shelby then got on the board. Michael Baker led off with a single. Neil Yockey hit into a fielder's choice and Warrem rang up his fourth victim. Vonderheide drew his first of three walks to put two men on.
Keown hit a single to left, sending Yockey home. The ball went through the left fielder's wickets and Vonderheide scored standing up, 2-0 Shelby
Mattoon came right back in the top of the 4th to knot the score. Hit to the Hayden Cole at 3rd. Cole snagged it against the line, but his throw was late. The next batter hit to 3rd and the ball was miss-played.
With two on and no outs, Hendryx caught another fly in center and Vonderheide threw out a batter short to 1st, as Warfel scored. Temple singled Hutchinson home to make it 2-2.
In the bottom of the 4th with two outs, Cole was hit on the foot by a pitch. He recovered enough to steal 2nd, but the base umpire blew the call and called Cole out even though the tag didn't come until Cole's foot was clearly into the bag and his momentum was bringing him to a standing position.
Shelby right fielder Luke Hatfield caught two more fly balls in the 5th and Hendryx snagged another.
Mattoon looked to get something going in the 6th, but Shelby made plays. Mattoon got a lead-off hit from Hutchinson after fighting off several pitches with foul balls. He stole 2nd, but Keown spun around and threw to Vonderheide to pick Hutchinson off 2nd.
Webb hit a pop up down the right field line and Shelby 1st baseman Andrew Hawkins ran out an caught it over his head. Walk dribbled a single through the hole, but Hendryx got on his horse and ran down a possible extra-base hit RBI in the right center field gap for the 3rd out.
Vonderheide walked again in the 6th and got to 3rd, but was left on base. Hatfield and Baker caught fly balls in the 7th and Keown threw his third K.
In the Shelby 7th with two outs, Baker singled and Yockey walked on a 3-2 pitch. But they were stranded as Warrem struck out another batter.
Mattoon then got rolling in the 8th and the rest was history.
Warrem had a stellar performance on the mound, especially against the middle of the Shelby order. The 4th, 5th and 6th batters for Shelby went 0-for-12, including eight strikeouts.
With their first loss of the playoffs, Shelby Legion was to play at 5 p.m. on Thursday to advance with a win or end the summer with a loss.
Mattoon Legion 7, Shelby Legion 4
Mattoon 000 200 032--7-10-2
Shelby 002 000 011--4-5-1
Shelby stats: Vonderheide 1-for-2, 3 BBs, run, RBI; Keown 2-for-5, 3B, run, RBI; Theis 0-for-4; Hatfield 0-for-4; Hawkins 0-for-4; Cole 0-for-2, HBP, BB, run; Baker 2-for-4; Yockey 0-for-2, run, 2 BBs, Hendryx 0-for-3, BB. Pitching (L) Keown 8 1/3 IP, 7 runs, 10 hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks; Theis 2/3 IP, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks.
Mattoon stats: Price 1-for-5, run; Warfel 2-for-5, 2 runs; Hutchinson 1-for-4, BB, SB, run; Webb 1-for-3, 2 HBP, run, RBI; Walk 2-for-5, run, 3 RBIs; Temple 2-for-4, 2 RBIs; Diepholz 0-for-3, HBP; Farmer 0-for-4; Roling 1-for-4, run. Pitching (W) Warrem 8 IP, 3 runs, 5 hits, 3 BBs, 14 Ks; Walk 1 runs, 0 hits, 1 BB, 0 Ks; Price (S) 1 IP, 3 BBs, 1 Ks.