April 24, 2014

Logan Media Services

INA – John A. Logan College freshman righthander Jake Herron pointed to the sky and fought back tears after his complete-game 4-2 victory over Rend Lake Thursday afternoon.

Herron was dealing with a variety of emotions after learning earlier this week that his grandfather had passed away. Herron dedicated his performance on the mound Thursday in his memory.

“He would have wanted me to pitch today,” said Herron, a native of Joliet. “And the whole time I was pitching, I felt like he was right here with me. It felt good.”

Herron scattered eight hits over nine innings, struck out three, and walked five.

“I think I threw alright overall,” he said. “Every time I got in a jam, it seemed that someone made a good play in the field behind me. Konner (catcher Lutz) called a great game. It was the first time he’s caught me all year, but his calls kept Rend Lake’s hitters off balance. I threw a lot more change ups today than I normally do.”

Vols head coach Jerry Halstead praised the hurler’s effort under tough circumstances.

“Jake was our guy today. He was outstanding. He put a bunch of zeroes up on the scoreboard,” Halstead said. “He got in trouble some with walks. If he hadn’t walked as many, I think he might have walked out of here with a shutout.”

The Volunteers, who improve to 13-9 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference and 21-19 overall, scored three runs in the first inning to set the tone.

Joba Ferrell was hit by a pitch. Jake Carpenter bunted him to second. After Tanner Scott popped out to the catcher, Ferrell stole third. Lutz walked and then stole second. Culver Plant followed with an RBI single to left. Plant then stole second and Jamal Fletcher brought home both Lutz and Plant with a single to center.

The host Warriors chipped away at the deficit, tallying single runs in the third and seventh innings. Will Fisher drove in both runs, one on a groundout and the other on a single.

Dylan Dunn kept the Vols scoreless from the second through the eighth innings, but got into trouble in the ninth, allowing a leadoff single by Lutz. After Plant sacrificed Lutz to second, Rend Lake coach Tony Etnier replaced Dunn, a southpaw, with Tyler Ellis, a righthander.

Fletcher singled Lutz to third. A pickoff attempt at first base was wide of the mark, allowing Lutz to score to make the score 4-2. Ellis then worked out of the jam without any further runs scoring.

“Getting that insurance run in the ninth really helped a lot, because we only had one hit from the second inning through the eighth,” Halstead said.

Logan will host a doubleheader with Rend Lake beginning at noon Saturday.

“We still have a shot at finishing second in the league with a pair of wins and that would be quite an accomplishment considering all the injuries we’ve faced this spring, so it’s important that we get these next two games,” Halstead said.