March 19, 2016

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – There was no offensive explosion as was the case the day before and no lights-out pitching, but the John A. Logan College baseball team hit well enough and pitched well enough to post a doubleheader sweep of visiting Southwestern Illinois Friday, 6-2 and 7-3.

With the pair of victories, the Volunteers improve to 6-0 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference. They are also 18-4 overall.

“It’s not been great baseball this week, but it’s been good enough,” said Vols head coach Jerry Halstead, now in his 33rd season at the helm. “We still have some things to clean up with our game, especially our secondary pitching. And if we can ever get everyone hitting at the same time instead of in spurts, we could be pretty special.”

In the opener, the Vols got five shutout innings from sophomore righthander Bobby Pennington before he tired in the sixth and surrendered two runs on three hits. Fellow sophomore, Peyton Cypress, then closed the door with three scoreless innings to earn the save. He allowed only one hit and struck out four.

“Peyton’s been the man out in the bullpen. I don’t know where we’d be without him,” Halstead said.

Logan scored its first run in the second inning on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jeff Hahs. A second run crossed the plate in the fourth when Tyler Horchem doubled, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored on a sac fly by Cody Birdsong.

The Vols added three runs in the fifth. Marshall Gilbert had a two-run triple and Horchem followed with a sac fly, the team’s third of the game. A sixth and final run came in the eighth when Birdsong singled and came around to score on an RBI single by Logan Kaletha.

Sophomore Tyler Robertson paced the offense with three hits in four at bats. Horchem and Birdsong recorded two each.

In the nightcap, catcher Colin Butkiewicz, who was the only Vol to collect multiple hits, ripped a two-run single in the second inning as JALC overcame a 1-0 deficit to take a 4-1 lead. Kaletha also had an RBI single. Ben Smith had a single and scored a run.

Logan tacked on three more runs in the third. Butkiewicz had an RBI double. Robertson chipped in an RBI double. A third run scored on an error.

Freshman Jerred Quartier started the game for Logan on three days rest and lasted three innings. He allowed two runs on only one hit, but walked four. Taylor Grider hurled the next two frames and Patrick McBride the final two. As McBride pitched more effectively in his two-inning stint, he was credited with the win.

“I like this team’s resiliency,” Halstead said. “The kids are very even-keel, which is very important over the course of a long season. They don’t get flustered if they fall behind. For the most part, I like what I have seen so far.”

Logan has the weekend off and will return to action Tuesday afternoon at Dyersburg State, Tenn. in non-conference action.