Boys Varsity Baseball
Game Summaries & Headlines.
Redbirds rally to take down Edwardsville
Nathan Woodside For The Telegraph
Published 9:15 pm, Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Nathan Woodside / For The Telegraph
Alton’s Mikey Hampton celebrates after his double Tuesday in a come-from-behind 6-3 SWC baseball victory over Edwardsville in Godfrey.
ALTON – With a decisive 6-3 come-from-behind home win Tuesday night over perennial powerhouse Edwardsville, the young Alton Redbirds proved they’re no lame ducks.
Tiger starting pitcher Chase Gockel was on point early on. His first seven outs were all Redbird strikeouts, as Edwardsville jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Reid Hendrickson’s double to score Cole Hampton in the first inning.
Alton’s Robbie Taul would knock the dust of the Redbird bats with a triple in the third, leading to a 2-1 Alton lead. Edwardsville game back with two more runs in the fifth to regain the lead, but a four-run sixth inning fueled by two Tiger errors shut the door.
“We always talk to them about the three elements that decide a game,” Alton coach Todd Haug said. “You’re going to need to get a big pitch, you’re going to need a big play and you’re going to need a big hit. If you can get two out of three of those, more times than not, you’re going to come out on top. In this case, I can give you examples of all three.”
He said the element of the Redbirds’ play that really shined Tuesday night was the sophomore battery of Wesley Laaker and Owen Standebeck.
“They’re growing,” Haug said. “The game is slowing down for them. A lot of our young puppies are becoming big dogs, and we’re real proud of them.”
Laaker fired all seven innings, allowing the two earned runs on four hits, striking out seven. ‘“From the very beginning, Wesley has proven to be a reliable guy,” Haug said. “He’s pitched in every single big game for us, across the board. He gets the best game of the week, and he keeps us in the best game of the week.”
Gockel was equally effective over six innings of work, striking out nine, allowing two earned runs on two hits and four walks.
“I thought we could’ve pushed a few more runs across, but you credit their pitcher,” Edwardsville coach Tim Funkhouser said. “(Laaker’s) fared against us well twice, and he continued to make pitches as the game went on, too. They out-executed us. They deserved to win.”
Mikey Hampton led Alton hitters, going 2-for-3 with a double, walk, run, RBI and stolen base. Josh Ohl led the Tigers, going 2-for-3 with a double, run and a stolen base.
The Tigers fell to 16-8 on the season.
“There’s no magic potion, but we want our kids to be accountable and take responsibility for the things that they didn’t to as well, and go back to work and try to do that,” Funkhouser said. “That’s the approach that we’ve taken in the past, and it’s worked pretty well.”
Haug said the win feels like a possible turning point for his young team, and at the right time.
“I think they know they can play with anybody,” Haug said. “We’ve played against some of the best competition in the area really close. We continue to be there, and anybody can get hot at the right time. That’s what you continue to preach. … This could be a momentum game.”