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Oakville boys' baseball drops 7-5 decision to Mehlville Panthers despite error-free game

When drawing up the blueprint for success in high school baseball, many coaches would agree that error-free games and a handful of hits would be enough to win a game.

Yet the gods of baseball didn't quite agree with that theory last Wednesday as Oakville dropped a 7-5 decision to Mehlville.

That loss broke a four-game stranglehold that the Tigers have had on the Panthers since April 2001.

"We actually played pretty good baseball," Oakville head coach Rich Sturm told the Call. "We didn't commit any errors in that game."

Oakville's Eric Brewer had a solid game at the plate as he went 2-3 at the plate with two doubles and two runs batted in. The Tigers head coach couldn't say anything less than praise for the senior first baseman.

"Eric's been just outstanding," Sturm said. "He had an opposite field home run against Fox and his two doubles against Mehlville were just bullets."

On the mound for the Tigers, starting pitcher Chris Popanopoulos threw four innings, while giving up seven earned runs on eight hits.

The senior hurler walked four and struck-out three in the losing effort.

"I thought that he (Popanopoulos) was a victim of the strike zone," Sturm explained. "He was hitting the corners, but I think that he wasn't getting that call consistently."

Despite the disappointing loss to the Tigers' rival, Sturm was quick to complement the progress that the Panthers have made since the past season.

"Mehlville's a good team this year," Sturm said.

"They've got a few players that are just good high school hitters. They really made the most of their opportunities."

Oakville is back in action Tuesday, April 6, as its plays host to the Hillsboro Hawks in a non-conference contest. The Hawks recently scored a 5-1 decision over Jefferson City, which has traditionally been one of the top programs in the state.

The Tigers' home game against Hillsboro is one of only six this season for the black and gold.

"Hillsboro beat Jeff City, which has a great baseball program," Sturm said.

"When you look at our schedule, it's pretty stacked. I think that we need to take advantage of our home games because we only have six of them this season."

Oakville's home game against Hillsboro is slated for a 4:15 p.m. start.

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