May 11, 2014

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

MARION – Kaskaskia scored three runs in the second inning without the aid of a hit and held on to beat John A. Logan College, 6-2, Sunday evening, eliminating the Volunteers from Region 24 tournament play.

Logan’s season comes to a close with a record of 26-22 overall. The Blue Devils improve to 31-16 and will meet Wabash Valley at 6 tonight at Rent One Park in Marion for the championship. Kaskaskia will have to beat the Warriors twice.

JALC sophomore righthander Tyler McGowan of Harrisburg drew the start for the pitching-thin Vols. He tossed a scoreless first, but lost command of his pitches in the second, walking three men and hitting two more.

Freshman Michael Yacko relieved McGowan and was outstanding, working 5 2/3 innings and allowing only two runs, one earned.

Logan closed to within 3-2 in the fifth inning after loading the bases with nobody out, but failed to score any additional runs when Tanner Scott, who doubled earlier in the game and was playing with a separated shoulder, bounced into a double play and Culver Plant grounded out to second.

The Blue Devils added an insurance run in the seventh when Willie Estrada stroked a solo homer, and two additional runs in the eighth on a two-run homer by Clark Pence off frosh reliever Aaron Gabriel.

“We had several opportunities. I thought we just kind of ran out of gas a little bit,” said Logan head coach Jerry Halstead. “That’s why we’re where we’re at. We had chances to move runners along and we had chances to drive runs in and just didn’t get it done. You have to play your best baseball in the playoffs. When you don’t against a quality team like Kaskaskia, you usually get beat.”

Halstead praised the effort of Yacko, who kept Logan within striking distance for several innings.

“I thought he did a great job for us to keep us close. Our hitters just couldn’t get it done. We didn’t hit many balls hard.”

Winning pitcher for the Blue Devils was starter Jared Waldhoff, who went the distance, allowing two runs on five hits with four strikeouts, one walk and a stunning four hit batsmen.

Earlier in the day, the Vols posted a 3-0 shutout over Southwestern Illinois. Freshman righthander Ryan Dunne was simply outstanding, working seven scoreless innings. He surrendered only two hits, struck out seven, walked four and hit one.

“I’m extremely happy to go out there and get a ‘W’ for my team,” Dunne said. “I didn’t think I had my curve working for me that well late in the game. I felt I had to go more to my fastball, and it was up in the zone some. Overall, I’m pleased with the way I’ve been throwing. I still need to cut down on the walks.”

Yacko worked the eighth and ninth innings to earn the save.

“Ryan gave us seven good innings. At times, he struggled, but he kept battling,” Halstead said. “You find out what kind of pitcher you are when you don’t have your best stuff. I thought he got a little bit tired in the heat, especially on this turf. But he did enough to get it done. I also thought Mike came in and did a good job. He pitched out of trouble in the eighth and then had an uneventful ninth.”

Logan scored single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Kyle Schneider drove in the first run with an infield single. Joba Ferrell drove in the next with a sacrifice fly and Konner Lutz drove in the final run with a sac fly.

Schneider and Jake Carpenter had two hits apiece to pace the Vols’ attack. John Tolliver, Jamal Fletcher and Plant each collected one hit each.