El Dorado Springs played host to the Class 3 District 13 baseball tournament. The Bulldogs came in as the second seed and the Stockton Tigers were third despite an early-season extra-inning victory by Stockton, as El Dorado had a better overall record. With a field of six teams, Stockton was forced to play a quarterfinal game against the sixth-seeded Sherwood Marksmen while El Do drew a bye.
Stockton 8, Sherwood 0
The Tigers left little doubt who was the better team Saturday, May 11. Luke Culbertson allowed just two hits in six innings, walking two and striking out eight. Tate Wheeler pitched a perfect seventh inning to preserve the shutout.
Offensively, Garrett Haden was 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored; Clayton Hubbard was 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored; Tanner Boyles was 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored; and Culbertson was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Stockton coach Darin Henderson said his team showed great improvement from its first game against El Dorado.
“We came out, we were ready to go,” Henderson said. “We competed well and executed the little things the whole game. That was the key. At this time of the year, those little things make a big difference.”
Sherwood 000 000 0—0 2 4
Stockton 130 013 x—8 13 1
Tucker Wolfe, Wyatt Clark (6) and Aaron McCubbin; Luke Culbertson, Tate Wheeler (7) and Garrett Haden.
Hits: Sherwood — Travis Patrick, Aaron McCubbin. Stockton — Garrett Haden 2, Drew Wheeler, Clayton Hubbard 3, Zack Burns (2B), Tanner Boyles 3, Tyler Mehl, Luke Culbertson 2.
El Dorado Springs 1, Stockton 0
The Cedar County matchup in the semifinal Monday, May 13, was an absolute classic.
“That’s just two really good teams going at it,” Bulldog coach Jeremy Barger said.
The Bulldogs’ Derek Hayes and the Tigers’ Drew Wheeler went toe-to-toe in one of the best pitching battles of the year.
Hayes threw a one hit shutout with 10 strikeouts, two walks and a hit batter. Wheeler allowed one unearned run on seven hits, striking out 14, walking one and hitting a batter.
The first key moment occurred in the bottom of the sixth inning as El Do’s Gaven Morgan lined a double to right-center field but was thrown out at third base as he tried to stretch it out to a triple. Luke Culbertson, who had Stockton’s lone hit, relayed to Tate Wheeler and on to Zack Burns for the 8-6-5 putout.
In the top of the seventh, Burns was hit by a pitch with one out and was sacrificed to second, but a strikeout to Cole Garrettson stopped the threat.
The Bulldogs earned the walkoff win as Preston Robison reached on a one-out error and Trevyn Garringer singled to right field. A wild pitch by Wheeler moved the runners to second and third, where Hayes finished the job with a long single to left field to score Robison.
“I just knew it would come down to one hit or one play,” Barger said. “Derek Hayes was awesome on the mound. Wheeler was awesome on the mound. It just came down to two or three big hits at the end.”
“I was just throwing the best I can to help out the team,” Hayes said. “The last at-bat, I kept my foot down and got a piece of one and got a good hit.”
“Credit to El Do, they just hang in there,” Henderson said. “We made play after play after play and finally they got the hit to score the run. They just kept pressure on us the whole game.”
Stockton 000 000 0—0 1 2
El Dorado 000 000 1—1 7 0
Drew Wheeler and Garrett Haden; Derek Hayes and Gaven Morgan
Hits: Stockton—Luke Culbertson. El Dorado—Preston Robison, Trevyn Garringer, Derek Hayes, Gaven Morgan (2B), Logan Spencer, Trey Graves, Orlando Guerrero.
El Dorado played Lamar in the championship Tuesday, May 14. Details will appear in next week’s issue. The champion hosts the District 14 winner in the sectional round Monday, May 20. The quarterfinal, against the District 15 or 16 champion, is Wednesday, May 22. Semifinals, third place and the state championship game are Monday-Tuesday, May 27-28, at O’Fallon.