MONTGOMERY CITY — The South Callaway Bulldogs couldn't follow up a win against the top-ranked team in the state with another victory to reach the Final Four.
No. 6 South Callaway managed only five hits and committed six errors in falling to the Montgomery County Wildcats 9-2 in the Class 3 quarterfinals Wednesday.
South Callaway — coming off a 1-0 sectional win Monday at No. 1 Palmyra — had its eight-game winning streak halted in finishing the season with a 24-9 record. South Callaway was playing in the state quarterfinals for the fifth straight year.
Montgomery County (17-8) — which hit three home runs against the Bulldogs — now moves on to play No. 9 Blair Oaks (21-11) in the Class 3 semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Monday at CarShield Field in O'Fallon. Blair Oaks advanced with a 10-0 quarterfinal victory against Lawson on Wednesday night in Wardsville.
"(Montgomery County) pitched better than us, they fielded better than us and they hit better than us," South Callaway coach Heath Lepper said. "We didn't deserve to win this game. They did the things (to win) that we normally do.
"It was a good baseball atmosphere, we had plenty of fans there. I wish we could have given them a better game."
The Wildcats would get all of the scoring they would ultimately need by tallying three runs in the top of the first.
The Bulldogs were able to get a run back in their half of the first. Peyton Leeper was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and advanced all the way to third when Drake Davidson was safe on an error.
Leeper then scored when Tyklen Salmons followed with a single to left.
Montgomery County, though, answered with two runs in the second and one run in the third to extend its lead to 6-1.
South Callaway logged its other run in the fifth on Dustin Loucks' two-out solo home run.
The Wildcats — who finished with 13 hits and overcame four errors — sealed their trip to the state semifinals by adding a run in the sixth and two runs in the seventh.
Loucks was 1-for-2 and walked twice for the Bulldogs, who struck out eight times and left 10 runners on base. Caleb Hall also finished 1-for-2 and Devin Borghardt went 1-for-3, while Salmons and Davidson — who doubled — were both 1-for-4.
"We got on our heels and got away from what we're taught to do," Lepper said. "We took too many fastballs down the middle, we got behind in counts and we swung at junk.
"We let their pitchers dictate to us."
Tyler Lepper (6-2) was tagged with the loss for South Callaway. He allowed seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits in 5 innings and struck out six.
"Tyler missed a couple of spots, but he got us outs," Heath Lepper said. "We just didn't make the (defensive) plays behind him."