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American Legion Baseball: Postseason express reaches end of the line
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BELOIT - The Monroe American Legion baseball team had its postseason run short circuited in a 9-2 season-ending loss to Elkhorn at the Beloit Junior region 6 tournament Saturday.

Monroe (9-13) battled back from a 3-0 first-inning deficit. Josh Popanz delivered an RBI-single in the fourth.

"We had the bases loaded," Monroe coach Bruce Rear said. "We had their pitcher on the ropes and we let him off the hook."

Elkhorn answered with a six-run fifth, which featured two Monroe errors.

"I never could get the guys back in the game," Rear said.

Monroe starting pitcher Cory Kundert pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up eight runs (four earned) on seven hits.

Mike Rear pitched 2 2/3 innings and gave up one run on two hits. He struck out five and walked just one.

"Hindsight is 20-20," Rear said. "I probably should have started Mike in the fifth."

Kundert cruised through the second, third and fourth.

"Our defense let him down that inning," Rear said.

Monroe just missed staying in the winner's bracket and assuring themselves of a Sunday game after losing a second-round game, 10-8, Friday night to Union Grove. Rear knew the significance of a win, which would have put Monroe in the driver's seat in a double-elimination tournament.

"I don't think anyone down there would have beat us twice in a day," Rear said. "I guess we will never know."

Monroe squandered a 6-0 fourth-inning lead. Union Grove came back with a five-run fourth inning which was keyed by some wildness on the mound. Three Monroe pitchers combined to walk seven batters in the game.

Monroe started Mike Demianiuk, who pitched 3 2/3 innings and gave up four runs on three hits. Relief pitcher Kris Rieder pitched 1 1/3 innings and gave up five runs on three hits and walked five.

"We just walked too many," Rear said. "Walks killed us."

The Union Grove team included an all-state centerfielder and second team all-state pitcher.

"We played them right down to the end," Rear said. "We really knocked the ball around on them. That was the best hitting team we have seen all season."

Monroe collected 10 hits and was led by Matt Whipple who was 2-for-3 with two RBI, Kyle Klopfenstein (2-for-3), Jake Teasdale (2-for-3), and Mike Rear (2-for-3).