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Alton Athletics

Alton High School


Alton Athletics

Alton High School

Alton Athletics

Alton High School



6.0 years ago by Jeff Alderman

Haug reflects on ‘incredibly mature’ Redbirds - The Telegraph - 6/1/2016

PREP BASEBALL: Haug reflects on ‘incredibly mature’ Redbirds

By Louie Korac - For The Telegraph


Alton’s Rob Taul, left, waits for the ball as O’Fallon’s Hayden Schaefer attempts a stolen base in Saturday’s Class 4A regional championship. Taul tagged out Schaefer, but O’Fallon won the game 2-1. 
Billy Hurst | For The Telegraph
Alton’s Derrick Allen reacts after the final out of Saturday’s Class 4A 2-1 regional championship game loss to O’Fallon. 
Billy Hurst | For The Telegraph

GODFREY — There were hugs and tears, laughs and cries. But through it all, Alton coach Todd Haug kept things in perspective when describing his 2016 Alton Redbirds baseball team, including 14 seniors.

“They’re one of the winningest classes in Redbird history right there with last year’s class,” Haug said of the 2016 class that won a total of 103 games in their prep careers and a regional title. “They’re incredibly mature, a close-knit group which has been a part of some very big games. The really neat thing about them is if you go and down the line, what is the real purpose of high school baseball? Well, it’s to be a solid steppingstone, maybe get them onto college, maybe get them to play and get them a little bit of money for them to get an education.

“If you go up and down the lineup, two pharmacists, four accountants, one of them (Nick Cauley) that’s going to Northwestern, one of the best schools in the country. He doesn’t know what he’s going to do yet, but these are guys that are going to continue to do great things. They’re going to be great men. Just tip your cap to them. They’re on the path to greatness.”

Those seniors may be on the path to greatness in the future, but in the heat of the moment Saturday in a 2-1 loss to the O’Fallon Panthers and ace lefty Bradley Harrison, the sting of defeat resonated in center field afterwards at the new Alton High School ball diamond.

The Redbirds, who finished 23-13, were down to their final three outs and trailing 2-0 to Harrison and his minuscule 0.34 earned-run average in the seventh inning.

They wouldn’t roll over and play dead for the Panthers (32-5).

The Redbirds rallied and had Harrison (12-0) on the ropes, scoring one and having the tying tun at third and go-ahead run at first with one out.

A double play, on a fly ball to shallow left and subsequent throw to the plate to get pinch-runner Matt McDonald ended the game and halting Alton’s rally just short.

It was the kind of ending that epitomized this group’s efforts throughout the season. No matter what the circumstances, the Redbirds played for 21 outs.

The inning started with a nice 10-pitch at-bat by freshman Rob Taul, one in which he worked a leadoff walk. After Aaron Bonnell’s single up the middle on a 1-1 pitch, the ultimate sacrifice came from Jacob Kanallakan, who bunted the runners to second and third instead of hacking away as the potential go-ahead run and biggest source of power on the team.

“It had been 20 innings since we got a guy to third base (off Harrison in three starts),” Haug said. “So with (nobody) out, we absolutely needed to move him over. (Kanallakan) is the type of guy that he knew what he had to do. That’s what this ballclub was like. That’s what it means to have the birds on the bat. You have to be able to be selfless. It doesn’t matter where you are in the lineup. You give yourself up for the team. The team is more important than individual stuff. It was not an issue. He laid down an outstanding bunt.

“It would be different if there was runner on first base and we only had one runner on, but the opportunity to put two in scoring position with one out, it’s a no-brainer.”

Steven Pattan lined a single to center to plate Taul, but McDonald, who was pinch-running for Bonnell, had to be held at third.

Seth Boschert was able to fight off an 0-2 pitch to short left field, where Hayden Schaefer made the catch and fired a strike, albeit a bit high, but close enough where catcher Chase Hackstadt doubled up McDonald to end the game.

The senior class includes Derrick Allen, Sam Ballard, who gave up what turned into the game-winning run on Harrison’s solo home run in the fifth, Bonnell, Boschert, Cauley, Devin Colley, Max Hunter, Kanallakan, McDonald, Noah Rathgeb, Jacob St. Peters, Marcus Schomburg, Jon Witt and Jacob Bozovich.

“We talked as a group, no matter what, we’re going to go down with our boots on and in this case, we would rather that than leave the guy standing at third base,” Haug, who completed his eighth season, said. “We have an outstanding group of very mature seniors. They’re going to go do things far greater than this game after this. They’re on a path to greatness and I felt very fortunate to be a steppingstone, a stopping point on their way of their journey.”

Reach Louie Korac at