Neuqua Valley outlasts St. Charles East in slugfest

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Neuqua Valley’s bats saved the day for the Wildcats.

Led by Matt Gould, Matt Butler and Tyler Tesmond getting three hits apiece, Neuqua pounded out 16 hits en route to a 10-9 won over St. Charles East on Thursday.

Down 5-3 going into the bottom of the fifth against the team that defeated the Wildcats in the Class 4A third-place game last year, Neuqua Valley (3-7) scored four runs, highlighted by a two-run double from Bradley-bound Mike Riesner and a RBI single from Gould to take a 7-5 lead.

With St. Charles East (7-3) responding one inning later with four runs, the Wildcats answered with three, capped by Gould’s third RBI of the day that scored Tesmond with the eventual game-winning run.

“You’re almost down in the count, 1-1. it’s all about looking for your pitch. Being able to put a good swing on it and (it) gave us the win,” said Gould of his RBI single in the sixth inning.

Even though Butler finished with three hits and two RBI, perhaps his biggest contribution was on the mound.

The St. Cloud State-bound Butler went five innings and gave up four earned runs on eight hits while working through seven walks.

“I didn’t really have my best stuff, walked a lot of guys. Just tried to get it over the plate and let my fielders make some plays for me,” Butler said.

His battery mate, Gould, was proud of the way Butler battled on the mound.

“I’ve known Matt for a really long time and something I think people don’t know about him is that he battles,” he said. “He works really hard and he battles a lot. Even on days where (he struggles); he thought he had a lot of good stuff in the bullpen and it didn’t really come out on the mound.

“He had a little bit of an ankle problem, but he gutted through that and that’s exactly what we expect from him.”

Alex DiFranco, who had two hits and scored twice, pitched a perfect seventh for the Wildcats to nail down the win for Logan Vlk in relief.

St. Charles East saw Austin Reglebrugge, Brannon Barry and Reid Olson finish with multiple hits, led by Barry’s 3-for-5 day at the plate.

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