April 14, 2015

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

MARION – The John A. Logan College baseball team split a doubleheader with Shawnee Tuesday in Region 24 regular-season play at Rent One Park, winning the opener, 12-2, in eight innings, before dropping the second tilt, 5-3, in seven innings.

Winning pitcher in Game 1 was sophomore righthander Jake Herron, who allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits in seven innings of work. He struck out four and walked none.

“I felt really good out there today, the defense played great behind me, and I thought Austin Rieman called an unbelievable game behind the plate,” said Herron, who improves to 3-1 on the spring. “The wind was blowing in, so I just let them put the ball in play.”

Freshman Gabe Jelley worked a perfect eighth, retiring all three batters in less than 10 pitches.

Freshman third sacker Doug Parks was the offensive force in the opener, rapping out three hits in four at bats from the nine hole in the batting order and driving in three runs, while adding a stolen base.

“I was ready to get out there and swing the bat a little bit,” Parks said. “I’m trying to take the fastball up the middle a little bit more and stay back on the curve better and take the ball the other way. It makes me feel like I’m contributing more to the team when I’m driving runs in.”

Freshman outfielder Jeff Hahs continued his torrid hitting, accounting for a double and two singles and adding a sacrifice fly. Kyle Schneider, Tyler Horchem, Culver Plant and Rieman each collected two hits. Tyler Robertson, Jake Carpenter and Nate Tholl had one hit each.

The Vols plated five runs in the third inning; two in the fourth; three in the fifth; on in the sixth; and one in the eighth.

In the nightcap, the Vols struggled early, allowing two runs in the first inning. Aaron Novak started on the mound, but got into trouble and was replaced by Peyton Cypress, who escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam without any further damage by inducing a double-play grounder to second.

Logan trailed 3-2 in the fourth when the Saints caught a break. On what appeared to be the third out of the inning (a tap back to the mound) was instead ruled a foul ball off the batter’s foot. Shawnee took advantage of the second life and pieced three consecutive hits together to increase its advantage to 5-2.

The Vols closed to within 5-3 and had the tying runs on second and third with nobody out in the sixth inning. But first baseman Gavyn Ellet moved to the hill and doused the flames. He struck out Rieman looking, got Parks to pop out to third, and then caught a break when Plant’s screaming line drive was caught by a leaping second baseman, Alex McRaven.

The Vols then loaded the bases in the seventh with two outs as Tholl, Carpenter and Hahs all singled, but Horchem grounded out to the pitcher to end the game.

“It’s a little disappointing from our perspective to come away with a split,” said Logan head coach Jerry Halstead. “This is a game we needed to win within the region standings. And after banging out 17 hits in the first game, we came out flat in the second. Give Shawnee (8-8 overall) credit. They came up with the big hits and we didn’t. We just didn’t take care of business.”

The Vols (16-13) have, however, played much better of late, winning 10 of their last 13 games. They play host to Rend Lake at 3 p.m. Thursday in the opener of a three-game series within the Great Rivers Athletic Conference.

 

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Dr. Steve O’Keefe at 618-985-2828 ext. 8569 or email at steveokeefe@jalc.edu.