Boys Varsity Baseball
Game Summaries & Headlines.
PREP BASEBALL: Many walks, no runs for Alton
Tigers shut out Redbirds in regional
Matthew Kamp, email@example.com
Updated 10:35 pm, Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Matthew Kamp / Hearst Newspapers
Edwardsville shortstop Josh Ohl (left) applies a tag to Alton’s Simon Nguyen too late to get an out on a stolen base attempt Wednesday night at Tom Pile Field in Edwardsville.
EDWARDSVILLE — The Edwardsville Tigers did what the Alton Redbirds couldn’t do Wednesday night at Tom Pile Field.
The Tigers were able to get two key hits with runners in scoring position during a three-run first inning en route to a 4-0 win over Alton in a semifinal of the Edwardsville Class 4A Regional.
Alton left 12 runners on base, including 10 from walks. The Redbirds finished 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
“That was the story of the day, not getting the key hits. They gave us every opportunity and we didn’t capitalize,” Alton coach Todd Haug said.
Edwardsville improves to 26-9 with its sixth straight win.
The third-seeded Tigers will play top-seeded O’Fallon at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Tom Pile Field for the regional championship.
The Panthers (32-3-1) knocked off eighth-seeded Quincy 5-0 in the other semifinal.
“That will be a fun game. It’s what we’re looking forward to,” Edwardsville shortstop Josh Ohl said of the state’s top-ranked Panthers.
No. 5 Alton ends its year at 16-19 for its first losing season since 2010 in Haug’s second season.
“We will go into the summer season and get back at it,” said Haug, whose team must replace seven seniors.
Edwardsville, which ended Alton’s season in last year’s regional semifinal, had three pitchers combine for a two-hitter. It’s the fourth time the Redbirds have been shut out.
Hendrickson earned the win, going 4.2 innings and allowing two hits with nine strikeouts and eight walks.
“I didn’t have my best stuff tonight but that’s why you have to go out there and compete,” Hendrickson said. “(When they had runners on), a little bulldog took over and I wasn’t going to let them score.”
Chase Gockel pitched the next two innings and struck out four with two walks, before Matt Boyer struck out the final batter of the game. Edwardsville pitching struck out 14.
“Reid continued to battle. He wasn’t as sharp as he has been in the last few outings. He was able to make pitches. Gockel was good and Boyer came in there at the end,” Tigers coach Tim Funkhouser said. “For our pitchers to keep going out there and putting up zeroes, it’s huge.”
Alton left runners in scoring position in each of the first five innings, including the bases loaded in the third and fifth innings. While the Redbirds struggled to get the clutch hit, the Tigers did not.
In the first, Drake Westcott was intentionally walked and Hendrickson followed with a single. With one out, Jack Cooper ripped a single up the middle to score Westcott and make it 1-0. After Cole Hampton reached on a wild pitch on a third strike, Ohl knuckled a single through the left side to score two and make it 3-0.
“That was big. We were able to pick Reid up and get him runs in the first inning,” Ohl said. “I was looking for a first-pitch fastball. It was a little jam spot. It was placed well.”
Ohl has hits in his last four games, including a 3-for-3 performance in the regular season finale against Waterloo.
“Those guys have been working hard all year,” Funkhouser said of Cooper and Ohl. “Ohl has been real hot lately and Cooper has been continuing that. It really lengthens our order.”
The Tigers tacked on a run in the fourth with Joe Copeland scoring on a double play off the bat of Hendrickson to push the lead to 4-0. All four runs were against Alton starter Wesley Laaker, who went 5 1/3 innings and struck out six with five walks. He allowed six hits.
Westcott got one of those hits. He was intentionally walked in his other two at-bats. The slugger entered the game hitting .505 with six homers and 32 RBIs. Cooper finished 2 for 3 to extend his hitting streak to nine games. During the stretch, he’s hitting 15 for 27.