Fatima baseball team reaches state title game

O’FALLON, Mo. – Fourteen hours after he started it, Seth Lehmen finished it.

The senior pitcher lifted a base hit to left field to send Fatima to a 3-2 victory against Hallsville in the Class 3 state semifinals at T.R. Hughes Ballpark. It was the completion of Thursday’s game that was suspended with one out in the bottom of the seventh.

The Comets (22-5) will take on Springfield Catholic (22-5) for the state championship at 1 p.m. today, weather permitting.

Lehmen’s hit with two outs went just over the glove of Hallsville shortstop Tracy Fulton to plate Nolan Bax from second.

“It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever been a part of in my life,” Lehmen said. “You’ve got to give it up to the guys ahead of me in the lineup. No pressure on me at that point.”

One of those guys was Bax.

Bax tied the game on a bobbled grounder to short that plated Hunter Hennier from third base. It was a strange situation for Bax, who started Friday with a full count after being at the plate when the game was suspended due to rain Thursday night.

Bax, who had two hits in the game, admitted he got “about an hour” of sleep Thursday night thinking about the possible situations he would see. He got a fastball.

“I had no idea (what to expect),” Bax said. “I thought about it last night. Half the people were telling me fastball, half the people were telling me curveball.”

Reid Kesel followed up with a base hit. After a fly out for the second out, Lehmen’s hit gave the Comets the victory.

“I’m glad it ended the way it did, and not off an error or a mistake by a defender, or anybody for that matter,” Fatima coach Scott Kilgore said. “It was a clean single. A two-out single with a runner in scoring position, dramatic fashion.”

Lehmen was just as big on the mound as he struck out three and allowed two unearned runs on five hits.

It was a tough loss for Hallsville and starter Brendan Beatty. Beatty struck out seven and was cruising along with a 2-0 lead. The Comets got a run in the sixth to make it 2-1 before putting four runners on in the seventh to win the game.

Logan Vogel had three hits for the Comets, who finished with nine for the game.

Followup coverage:

Familiar formula leads Fatima to Class 3 state baseball crown

Fatima wins Class 3 baseball title

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