O'FALLON -- The early part of Friday's Ft. Zumwalt North Invitational Tournament (FZN Tourney) opening game at Westhoff Park, began as many others had for tourney favorite and No. 3 ranked area small school baseball team, St. Dominic High.
The Crusaders turned a walk, a stolen base, and two basehits into a 2-0 lead in the second inning, and were getting dominant pitching from ace starter Jacob Wehde.
But then a funny thing happened on the way to another St. Dom easy win.
The opponent on the field, the Hazelwood West Wildcats, remembered they are Hazelwood West and they don't give up so easily.
And boy did the Wildcats remember in a big way, scoring five runs in the fifth inning, and six more in the seventh, to completely blow away the third-ranked team in the city, 11-4, and hand St. Dominic its first loss since March.
"I thought we really pitched well, and did well with the bats, and really played good defense in that first game," said West head coach Matt McClellan. "It was a good win."
McClellan said the Wildcats didn't really do those things in the second game, and in turn won one and lost one.
"It would've been nice to get them both," he said.
After knocking off St. Dom, West fell in the nightcap 8-4 to Seckman High, and ended up playing in the third-place game Saturday morning.
Still, the talk of the tournament will be Hazelwood West's huge upset over St. Dom.
The Crusaders came in having won 10 games in a row, including wins over locally-ranked teams Trinity Catholic and Duchesne, but on Friday, they proved to be no match for the late-inning heroics of Hazelwood West.
"We finally got some things going," McClellan said. "We've been pretty good about that this, getting rallies started I mean, and we put together a couple of pretty nice ones in that game."
West got RBIs from Aaron Lohman, Devin Williams, Matt Leinberger, and Oday Al-Yatim in a five-run burst that gave the Wildcats a 5-2 lead.
Then after St. Dominic's Matthew Achelpohl hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth, and added an RBI basehit in the bottom of the sixth, to make the score 5-4. West sent 11 men to the plate, and scored six times to put the game away.
Seniors Leinberger and Al-Yatim had the big hits in the inning, both driving in a pair―Leinberger on a line-shot single and Al-Yatim on a double in the gap―that busted the game wide open.
Both players finished with three hits each, as West pounded out 10 hits to stop St. Dom.
Another West senior Kurtis Aldrich was the beneficiary of all those runs, as he got the win on the mound for the Wildcats, after pitching all seven innings, and allowing St. Dom just the four runs, on eight hits, with seven strikeouts and three walks.
Aldrich is now 4-1 on the season, and tied with junior Jared Fosdick for the most wins on the team this year.
Hazelwood West is now 12-7 on the season, and after finishing up the weekend with its matchup with Ft. Zumwalt North, the Wildcats will begin preparing for a couple of big Suburban North Conference games next week.
On Tuesday, the Wildcats will be hosting Hazelwood East at Beckemeier Field, then traveling to Riverview Gardens on Thursday.
Both those contests are slated for 4 p.m. starts.
REMAINING HAZELWOOD WEST BASEBALL SCHEDULE
April 28 vs. Ft. Zumwalt North at Ozzie Smith Park 10 a.m.
May 1 vs. Hazelwood East 4 p.m.
May 3 at Riverview Gardens 4 p.m.
May 7 vs. Wentzville Holt 4:15 p.m.
May 8 at Pattonville 4 p.m.
May 9 vs. Francis Howell Central 4:15 p.m.
May 14-19 MSHSAA Districts at Hazelwood West TBA