March 17, 2016

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

BELLEVILLE – John A. Logan College hitters battered five Southwestern Illinois pitchers Thursday afternoon to the tune of 23 runs on 22 hits as the Volunteers remained unbeaten in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference with a 23-2 win in a game shortened to seven innings because of the 10-run rule.

In the sixth inning alone, three different Blue Storm relievers failed to record an out while facing 14 Vols. Logan tallied 13 runs on 10 hits in that frame.

Sophomore rightfielder Jeff Hahs drove in seven runs on the day with a homer, double and two singles.

“The team really came out today swinging the bat well,” Hahs said. “It’s probably the best we’ve swung it since our trip to Alabama a few weeks ago. Coach (Jerry) Halstead and Coach (Kyle Surprenant) Soup had a talk with me last week. They told me I just needed to relax more at the plate and try to drive the ball.

“And finally, in the second Kaskaskia game last week, things started coming around,” Hahs said. “I hit a couple of balls hard and that kind of boosted my confidence. Instead of spinning off the pitch and trying to hit home runs, I started going with the pitch more. Ever since then, I’ve been pretty successful.”

Freshman catcher Marshall Gilbert also enjoyed a monster day at the dish. He blasted two dingers, including a grand slam and a double, and drove in five runs.

Sophomore shortstop Tyler Robertson carried the load early, driving in four of the team’s first five runs. He had four hits in all, including a solo homer and double, finishing with five RBIs.

Freshman second baseman Landen Harris connected for a two-run homer and single and drove in four runs.

Sophomore leftfielder Tyler Horchem contributed three hits, two of the infield variety. Freshman first baseman Ben Smith also collected three hits, including a double, and drove in a run.

Freshman designated hitter Cody Birdsong chipped in an RBI double and scored three runs. Freshman centerfielder Logan Kaletha had two hits and scored a run.

Sophomore third baseman Doug Parks was the only starter not to record a hit. He did, however, walk twice and scored two runs in the same inning.

Winning pitcher for Logan was sophomore Matthias Dietz (5-1). The righthander worked six of the seven innings. He surrendered two runs on six hits. He struck out eight and walked one with one hit batsman. Freshman Taylor Grider relieved Dietz in the seventh and retired the side in order.

Vols head coach Jerry Halstead was impressed with the offense.

“Not in our wildest dreams did we expect to walk out of here with a 23-2 win today, even with Dietz on the mound. I thought Tyler Robertson kind of set the tone for the day when he jumped on one and hit it out of the park in the first inning.”

Halstead said Logan can’t rest on its laurels as the Vols will now host a doubleheader with Southwestern Illinois today beginning at noon.

“Today’s game means nothing tomorrow. We have to re-establish ourselves at the outset and play well if we want to have a chance to win either game.”

The Vols presently stand 4-0 in the GRAC and are 16-4 overall.