Bell City baseball overcame an early one-run deficit and advanced to its third consecutive Class 1 state championship game with a 3-1 win over Hurley in the semifinals Monday at CarShield Field in O'Fallon, Missouri.
Cubs starting pitcher Austin Hicks got the complete-game win, as he gave up three hits and two walks in seven innings while striking out nine. Hicks also drove in a run as he went 1-for-3 with a walk.
Bell City (20-6) will play the winner of the second semifinal, Wellsville-La Plata, for the championship at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The Cubs totaled seven hits as shortstop Cole Nichols led the way by going 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Hurley (16-7) struck first with a run in the bottom of the first. Starting pitcher Issac Carlson drove in a run with a triple to the left-field wall. Carlson took the loss as he allowed three runs on seven hits and five walks while notching five strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
After going down a run, Bell City responded with two in the third to take the lead and added another run in the fourth for insurance.
Nichols started the third-inning rally with a single and advanced to third on an error. Hicks drove him in with a single to shallow center, and catcher Bobby Wright followed with an RBI double to give Bell City the one-run lead.
The two-time defending state champs added another run the next time up as Taylor Ogden led off the inning with a single and then took advantage of an error by the center fielder on the play to move up to third. With one out, Kenny Bradshaw drove in Ogden, one of five senior starters, with a grounder to second.
Hicks took care of the rest and the Cubs will go for the three-peat Tuesday afternoon.
Bell City leads Hurley 2-1 after 3 innings.
The Cubs strung together four consecutive hits and took advantage of an error to score two runs in the top of the third.
With one out, Cole Nichols hit a line drive that skipped by the right fielder, allowing him to advance to third. Hicks drove him in with an RBI single to shallow center to tie the game at 1-all.
Bobby Wright then gave Bell City the lead with a double over the left fielder's head as Hicks came around to score from first.
We're underway here in O'Fallon, and Hurley leads 1-0 after one inning.
After working around a two-out walk in the top of the first, Hurley starting pitcher Isaac Carlson smacked a one-out RBI triple that rolled to the left field wall. Carlson was caught in a rundown between third and home and was tagged out.
Bell City's Austin Hicks struck out the next batter to end the inning.
We're here at CarShield Field in O'Fallon, Missouri, for the first of four games at baseball state this weekend involving area teams.
First up is a Class 1 state semifinal between Bell City (19-6) and Hurley (16-6). It's the only game Monday involving Semoball teams. It was scheduled to start at 4 p.m., but due to a weather delay will start late.
Bell City are back-to-back state champs. Hurley was at the final four two years when the Cubs won the first of those two titles.
For a little pre-game reading, check out my story on the Cubs, and their five seniors starters, going for the three-peat.
The winner of this first semifinal plays in the title game at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. The third-place game is at 11 a.m. Tuesday.
St. Vincent (12-10) will being play Tuesday with a semifinal against Canton (19-4) following the Class 1 state championship. The Class 2 third-place game is at 11 a.m. Wednesday with the championship game following it.
Follow @semoballphillip for updates today and check back on this blog for updates throughout the day.
Thanks for following along!