May 10, 2015

Logan Media Services

MARION – A promising start to the weekend Friday evening ended in utter disgust Saturday night as the John A. Logan College baseball team first lost the championship game of the Region 24 tournament and then the second-place game, as well, ending the Vols’ postseason run at 27-17.

Logan lost the title match to Kaskaskia, 7-3, and the runner-up game to Lincoln Trail, 6-2, after knocking Trail into the loser’s bracket Friday night with a 4-3 win.

“We were bad in all phases of the game today,” said Logan head coach Jerry Halstead. “It’s a tough finish to our season. When we hit a ball hard with the bases loaded, it was right at somebody. Defense was the difference. We were terrible. It just wasn’t our day. I would like to point out something positive, but I can’t remember anything that really stuck out. Just way too many mistakes made today when playing for a regional championship.”

Logan committed a stunning six errors on the day, four in the title match with the Blue Devils.

In that opening game, sophomore lefthander Joey Marciano hooked up with Kaskaskia rigty, Jared Waldhoff. The Blue Devils drew first blood with a run in the second inning aided by two errors, one a throwing error by second baseman Nate Tholl, and one a throwing error by catcher Kenny King.

The Vols tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the third when Jake Carpenter singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and came around to score on an RBI single from Kyle Schneider. The score remained tied until the top of the seventh inning.

Marciano, who gave up only four hits and struck out nine in 6 1/3 innings, retired the first batter on a tap back to the mound. Chase Klein followed with a single. Carlos Texidor then bounced a ball to shortstop Culver Plant for what looked like an inning-ending play, but Plant booted the ball for an error, leaving runners at first and second.

Halstead removed the tiring Marciano and inserted ace reliever, Matthias Dietz. Ryan Cates greeted him with a double, driving in Klein. A sacrifice fly by Matt Mersinger made it a 3-1 lead. Halstead then pulled Dietz in favor of Jake Herron, who immediately surrendered a two-run homer off the bat of Willie Estrada.

After yet another infield error, Herron retired the side on a strike out. Herron continued to struggle in the eighth, allowing two additional runs as Cates singled home two for a 7-1 advantage.

The Vols got two runs back with a pair in the bottom of the eighth. Tyler Horchem had a sacrifice fly and Tyler Robertson singled home a run. Logan got a leadoff walk in the ninth, but a double play ended the mild threat.

Waldhoff (3-3) picked up the win, while Marciano (7-4) was the hard-luck loser. Tholl, Robertson and Carpenter each collected two hits for Logan in the losing cause.

In the nightcap, the Vols took a 1-0 lead over Lincoln Trail in the third as Doug Parks, who had reached on an error, came around to score on a fielder’s choice grounder.

The Statesmen bounced right back to plate two off Logan starter, Bobby Pennington. Chris Deaville popped a solo homer to make it 2-1. Pennington then went to a 2-0 count on the next batter, Hunter Best, before giving way to Dietz. Best walked and came around to score on an RBI single from Cord Church.

The Vols tied it at 2-2 when Jeff Hahs belted a homer, his second of the season. That would be all of the Logan scoring on this night, however, as southpaws Nick Cumpston and Tasker Strobel, baffled Vols’ batters. Logan’s best shot came in the bottom of the fourth. With the bases loaded, Schneider lined out to the third baseman.

Lincoln Trail scored the go-ahead and what proved to be the winning run off Dietz in the sixth inning. A one-out error by Tholl allowed Church to reach second. He then stole third and scored on Cody Hall’s RBI bunt single.

The Statesmen added two runs in the seventh and one additional run in the eighth.

Despite the bad day at the office for the Vols, Halstead said the season was not a lost cause.

“Anytime you win a conference championship, you have to be happy with that. We caught some lightning in a bottle there for about a month in the middle of the season and played some great baseball. Unfortunately, today, we finished the way we started the season – not playing our best baseball. You can’t get to this level and try to win a regional championship when you play as terribly on defense as we did this weekend.”


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