City Series Game 1

    Zachariah Landstrom lined a base hit to left field to drive in the game-winning run as Route 66 Nutrition took the first game of the best-of-3 City Series against Illinois American Water Company Tuesday evening at the Rec-Plex.
    Landstrom’s double came with two outs and drove in Justin Tovrea’s tally ended the contest 6-5. Route 66 Nutrition will look to complete the sweep tonight. The first pitch is set for 7 p.m.
    “Game 1 is a very, very big game. Win the first game and it takes a lot of pressure off,” said Route 66 head coach Dan Tovrea. “Now, they just have to relax and do what they need to do to finish the second game and just continue to have confidence.”
    That confidence was key at the plate, but maybe more so on defense, especially when Cayden Masching took the ball in the fifth inning.
    It was a 5-3 game when Masching took the mound. He threw three shutout innings and allowed two hits and two walks but no runs.
    Masching picked up the win as the third Route 66 hurler. He was helped by a defense that made some nice plays, including himself on a dribbler off the bat of Hayden DuVall in the seventh inning. Masching threw the speedy DuVall out on a close play for a key out.
    “Our offense is good, we just got stalled there,” IAWC head coach Nate Schlosser said. “They have a good little pitcher in Cayden Masching.”
    The Route 66 Nutrition rally started with two outs and after the lineup turned over. Trenton Blackwell got a strikeout and induced a groundout by Masching, the No. 1 batter in the order.
    Tovrea then singled to right and IAWC made a pitching change as Anderson Horning came on. Tommy Oestmann greeted Horning with a single up the middle to bring up Landstrom.
    The hulking Route 66 catcher smacked a shot to left field, close to the line, that drove in Tovrea with the game-winner.
    “We’ve got some batters who have been struggling (with) a lack of confidence. I’ve been stressing confidence,” Coach Tovrea said. “We went down four and were on our heels and I was pushing the the confidence. They started playing well and relaxing and having fun and that’s when they play their best ball, and that’s when we came back.”
    The rally started in the bottom of the fourth inning. Justin Tovrea and Oestmann singled to lead off the inning and Camden Gillette doubled with one out to drive in Tovrea. Oestmann scored on a wild pitch with Carlito Lattin at bat to make it 5-3.
    Aiden Wink was hit by a pitch with one out in the fifth inning and Masching doubled to put runners on second and third. Tovrea then singled in both runners to tie the game at 5-5. It stayed that way until the seventh frame.
    “They didn’t get down on themselves, they didn’t down on each other. They played hard start to finish,” Coach Tovrea said.
    Route 66 Nutrition got on the board first with a run off IAWC starter DuVall in the bottom of the first inning. Oestmann doubled to drive in Tovrea for the first run.
    DuVall, who is one of three IAWC players (Brayden Stroh and Shannon Law are the others) with City Series experience, settled in to strikeout the next five batters he faced.
    IAWC answered Route 66 with a three-run second inning to take the lead. Law led off with a double and Alex McMeen walked to open the frame. A strikeout and a caught stealing put the rally in jeopardy, but walks to Beau Hamilton and DuVall loaded the bases.
    Schlosser also walked to force in McMeen with the tying run and Horning singled to plate Hamilton and DuVall for a 3-1 lead.
    Law walked to lead off the third inning and DuVall doubled with two outs to drive in Law for a 4-1 lead.
    Blackwell exerted his power when drove a Landstrom offering far over the fence in center to make it 5-1 in the fourth inning.
    But that was it and things began to go south for IAWC.
    “We had a couple of mistakes in the field and we paid for it,” Coach Schlosser said. “We gave them five outs in one inning and it cost us the game.
    “We fought hard, we’ll come back tomorrow and try to get a win.”
    Masching got the win and added five strikeouts to hit pitching line. Tovrea started, allowing three runs on two hits and seven walks to go with four strikeouts. Landstrom yielded two runs on three hits and a walk. He fanned four.
    Tovrea collected four hits and two runs batted in to help pace the Route 66 Nutrition offense. Oestmann contributed a double, three singled and an RBI while Landstrom and Gillette each had a double and run batted in. Masching and Lattin each recorded a two-base hit, as well.
    Blackwell homered, singled and drove in one run for IAWC. Law doubled and singled and Horning had a hit and two RBIs. DuVall doubled and drove in a run and Parker Gray singled.
    Blackwell took the loss in relief. He gave up three runs on five hits. He struck out five. DuVall started, allowing three runs on five hits and he had seven strikeouts. Schlosser gave up two walks and fanned two. Horning allowed two hits.