Thompson’s home run lifts Willard to Final Four birth

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Ethan Thompson’s three-run shot proved the difference Thursday afternoon as Willard Baseball powered past Glendale 4-2 for a spot in the Class 5 final four.

It was the Falcons’ first trip to the quarterfinals since 1978, and they controlled the game to start.

Behind a stellar outing from Tyler Wilmsmeyer, Glendale provided the game’s first run in the 4th inning.

Thomas Carr grounded into a fielder’s choice, scoring Wilmsmeyer and putting the Falcons up 1-0.

Willard responed in the 5th as Jacob Vandoren split the gap in left, bringing Garrett Martin home safe to knot the game once again.

The Tigers were far from finished in the inning.

With two runners on, Ethan Thompson launched one over the left field wall for a 4-1 Willard lead. 

Glendale would have a chance to tie the game in the 7th.

An RBI groundout from Max Elmer scored Zachary Beatty and helped set up the Falcons with runners on the corners.

A pop-up, however, sealed the fate of the Falcons closing the book on a 4-2 Willard win thanks to the bat of Thompson.

“I didn’t think anything of it when I first hit it, but as soon as I touched home I realized what happened,” Thompson said. “It just flooded through me, all this joy and happiness, what we were doing and who we were doing it for.”

The win marks Willard’s fifth trip to the final four in school history, third this decade. 

The Tigers will play Marquette in the Class 5 semifinals on May 31st.

First pitch in O’Fallon is set for 4:00. 

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