Manchester's Duke has four-hit knockout punch in 5-3 victory for South

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Manchester's Duke has four-hit knockout punch in 5-3 victory for South
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ELLISVILLE • Manchester’s Anthony Duke is leaning toward attending Mizzou this fall, but he said he could still be convinced to go elsewhere.

“I’m not completely committed to Mizzou,” said the recent Parkway South grad, who won't play baseball if he goes to MU. “I’m not positive yet. I’m there, but I’d like to possibly still (go somewhere else to) play baseball.”

Duke’s effort Wednesday night in the American Legion District 10 All-Star Game could possibly convince a college coach to give him another look. He went 4-for-4 with two triples, two runs batted in and two runs scored to power the South team to a 5-3 win over the North squad at Ellisville Athletic Association.

“The last (regular season) game, I didn’t know I was in the all-star game, so that last game was really emotional,” said Duke, who played second base in the game and was named the South team most valuable player. “Then to find out I would get to play one more, and ending it like I did, was awesome.”

Duke played a key role in all four of the innings the South team scored in. He had an RBI single that scored Luke Schumacher (Eureka) in his team’s two-run second, drove in Schumacher again with a triple in the fourth, singled and scored on a hit by Manchester teammate James Calloway in the sixth and tripled and scored on a groundout by another Manchester teammate, Ryan Fisher, in the eighth inning.

“I wouldn’t expect anything less,” Ballwin manager Sean Rogan, who guided the South team, said of Duke. “He tore us up all year. I’m used to seeing him get base hit after base hit against us.”

If Duke hadn’t been so good, officials could have picked any of several South team pitchers for the MVP award. Nick Bamvakais (Eureka), Michael Dawkins (Manchester), Donnie Lucas (Eureka), Jake Busiek (Ballwin), Aaron Schnurbusch (Eureka) and Dan Droege (Ballwin) all pitched at least one scoreless inning.

“Even when the runs were scored, it wasn’t on the pitchers,” Rogan said. “It was just a couple of lapses we had. The pitching was phenomenal all night long.”

The South team had 11 hits total to seven for the North. Drew Gress (Ballwin) and Schumacher both had two hits.

The South team looked to be in a bit of a bind going into the bottom of the ninth when Rogan had left-handed players at third, second and catcher. However, they were able to overcome that obstacle, too.

“I’m left-handed, I can handle it,” Rogan said. “We did keep one righty out there as a safe haven.”

The North team struggled to get much going offensively in the game. One of its players who did get a hold of a pitch was Andrew Childs (Creve Coeur), who was named the MVP for his RBI double in the top of the fourth.

“I’m seeing the ball well and I just got lucky,” Childs said. “I went down and got it and hit it to right-center, left-center actually, and I hustled and thank God (Aaron) Schnurbusch didn’t throw me out at second base.”

Schnurbusch did pick off Maryland Heights’ Brendan Everson when he overran third base after first doubling and then going to third on a single by David Williams (Thoman-Boothe) in the third inning. That was the defensive highlight of the game along with a great running catch by Childs at the start of the game.

Lucas Mueller (Creve Coeur) also had a double and later scored on an error in the two-run fourth for the North team.

The North squad scored a single run in the fifth to tie the game at 3. Matt Key (Thoman-Boothe) singled and later was singled in by Will Southworth (Thoman-Boothe).

“They threw some good pitchers at us,” said Creve Coeur assistant coach Tim Steele, who led the North team. “The South side has some good pitchers, a lot of left-handers, so we had our work cut out for us. They shut us down pretty good.”

The North squad had four pitchers who were unscored upon. Not coincidentally they were Creve Coeur pitchers Keith Coulson, Mueller, Brian Hillhouse and Jonathan Rembold.

Post 397, the best team in District 10 this summer, will begin play tomorrow in the state tournament in Sedalia. Creve Coeur opens the tourney against Independence Post 21.

Rogan wishes he was still playing with the lineup he had Wednesday.

“The coaches were talking,” he said. “We’d like to take this team out on the road and see what kind of damage we could do.”

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