It was too hot Monday afternoon to be playing any baseball, much less an extra innings affair. The placement of the home crowd at Monett testified to the brutal heat: a good crowd attended the game, camped in what shade was available within viewing distance of the field. Only a few brave souls endured the heat in the bleachers.
But in a see-saw battle against a tough 39ers team from Mt. Vernon, Post #91's Dylan Bunch fought off a 2-2 fast ball for a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning. Then it all seemed worthwhile.
Monett's AAA American Legion team struggled mightily in the contest before pulling off the comeback. Some overly aggressive base running saw two Monett baserunners gunned down at the plate, as the 39ers took a 3-1 lead in the third inning and stubbornly protected that margin as the blistering sun faded into the west.
Monett's lone run came in the home half of the second inning when Chase Cantwell ripped a single with the bases loaded to score Josh Steward from third base. But the Post #91 lineup struggled in the ensuing innings, managing only one baserunnner in the next three innings.
The fifth inning typified Monett's offensive frustration. Colten Phillips ripped a one-out triple, but then Sean Goostree was out at first on a 5-3 groundout and Mt. Vernon's Levi Keatts threw Phillips out at home to kill the scoring threat and end the inning.
Post #91 came to life in the bottom of the sixth inning, collecting four hits and two runs off Mt. Vernon starter Mark Moriondo. With the score tied at 3-3, neither team could score in the seventh frame. Miserably hot and dripping perspiration from the bills of their caps, the two teams headed into extra innings.
After throwing two shutout innings in relief in the sixth and seventh innings, Cantwell also shut down the 39ers in the top of the eighth, facing only four batters.
Steward led off the bottom of the eighth with a solid double, and took third base on a passed ball. With one out, Bunch delivered the walkoff RBI to give Monett a 4-3 win.