Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Elsberry Battles Back to Get Berth in Zone Tourney

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Elsberry Battles Back to Get Berth in Zone Tourney

Article excerpt

Elsberry American Legion baseball manager Joe Crenshaw issued his team a challenge last week.

"After beating Daniel Boone, we were in exactly the same position as last year," Crenshaw said. "I asked our players if they felt they'd improved and matured in the last year. If so, I wanted to know if they were ready to take the next step."

The Elsberry ballclub responded.

Elsberry, District 9's fifth-seeded team, knocked off No. 3 St. Peters 10-0 Friday and No. 1 St. Charles 7-6 Saturday afternoon to capture the losers'-bracket championship.

Elsberry fell 5-1 to Sullivan in the title game Saturday night at City Hall Park in St. Peters.

"By the time we got to Saturday night, we were tired - mentally and physically," Crenshaw said. "We made some errors to help them and they also got an extremely well-pitched game."

Sullivan pitcher Rich Clover struck out 22 and limited Elsberry to three hits.`Bt

As top finishers in the district, both teams advanced to the zone tournament at Warrenton.

Elsberry (24-12) will play the District 2 champion in a first-round game tonight at 8:30 p.m. The five-team, double-elimination tournament continues through the weekend.

"To be real honest, I'm not even sure who's involved," Crenshaw said. "This is the first time Elsberry has ever been this far and we're excited about it. We need to win four games and I don't see any reason why we can't. The way we're playing, we're capable of beating anyone in the tournament."

But Crenshaw still sees Sullivan as the team to beat.

"Sullivan's a solid, well-coached ballclub," the Elsberry manager said. "They have great pitching, they play good defense and they're capable of putting some runs on the board.

"But we split a doubleheader with them during the regular season, so we know they're beatable."

The zone champion advances to the state championship tournament next week in Cape Girardeau.

Crenshaw, head coach at Florissant Valley Community College, has been involved with the Elsberry Legion program since 1976. …

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