March 26, 2015

BY JOHN D. HOMAN

CARTERVILE – Four unearned runs in the first inning proved to be the undoing of the John A. Logan College baseball team Wednesday afternoon as the Shawnee Saints won the Region 24 tilt, 7-1.

Logan sophomore starting pitcher Jake Herron most certainly deserved a better fate.

The first batter of the game for Shawnee, Alex McRaven, reached on a muffed pop fly on the infield as both the third baseman, Austin Rieman, and shortstop, Doug Parks, converged on the ball.

McRaven would later score on a two-out RBI double off the bat of Gavyn Ellet. A follow-up single by Cody Harris and error by the left fielder, Aaron Fuller, allowed a second run to score. A third run scored when Vols’ right fielder, Jeff Hahs, lost a ball in the sun off the bat of Kyle James for a triple. James then scored on a passed ball by catcher Kenny King.

The Saints, now 3-1 overall, plated a fifth unearned run off Herron in the second inning when Colton Aldridge reached on an error by Parks and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly to left that was again lost in the sun and dropped, this time by Fuller.

Herron went four innings in all, allowed five runs, all unearned, on four hits, struck out four and walked only one. Tyler Bialeschki relieved in the fifth. He worked four innings and surrendered two runs on four hits with one strikeout and no walks. Aaron Novak hurled a scoreless ninth. He struck out two and worked around an error by first baseman, Tyler Horchem.

The Vols scored their lone run off Shawnee starter, Austin Johnson, in the third inning. Hahs tripled in Nate Tholl, who had singled. Kyle Schneider and Tholl paced the offense with two hits each.

Johnson went the distance for the Saints, allowing one run on six hits with no strikeouts and one walk in his nine innings of work. Logan flied out a stunning 18 times in 34 at bats.

“That’s giving away six innings in a nine-inning game when you fly out that many times,” JALC head coach Jerry Halstead said. “At any level, that’s going to make it tough to win. Our hitting woes continue. Regardless of who we put in there, we can’t drive in a run. It’s getting pretty sad at this point. This makes the third or fourth complete game we’ve had thrown against us already.”

On a positive note, Halstead said his trio of hurlers threw the ball well.

“The pitching was pretty solid. Jake had some tough luck without a doubt.”

Logan (6-9 overall and 4-5 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference) opens a three-game series with league-leading Lincoln Trail College today at 3 in Robinson. The remaining two games of the series are set for Carterville on Saturday at noon.