Waterloo head baseball coach Mark Vogel went into the 2014 season banking on his wealth of good pitching, and so far that has held suit.
“What we thought would be our strength this season has been the case up to this point,” he said.
The Bulldogs opened their spring campaign last Wednesday at home against Mt. Vernon, and although the game was called due to darkness tied 1-1 after 10 innings, the team’s pitching prowess was displayed in fine fashion.
Austin Nunnery pitched five strong innings with 9 strikeouts, and Devin Rice provided quality innings. The ‘Dogs just couldn’t push home that winning run before sunset.
The Bulldogs picked up their first win Friday at Wesclin, 3-0. This time, it was Jeremy Rettig and Austin Campbell with strong efforts on the mound. They combined for the shutout.
Ryan Aycock provided the offensive spark, going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Zach Schaab also added an RBI.
Waterloo traveled to New Athens for a Saturday doubleheader. The first game was a nailbiter, but the ‘Dogs pulled it out in the end, 3-2.
“It was a well-pitched game on both sides,” Vogel said.
After New Athens tied the game 2-2 in the sixth, Waterloo’s Jonny Albers provided a clutch two-out RBI hit in the seventh to lead his team to victory.
Rice shut the door in the bottom of the seventh for the save. Lefthander Corey Vogel picked up the win on the mound, coaxing a key double-play to end a New Athens threat.
In game two against New Athens, Waterloo busted loose with their bats in a 22-5 win. Nunnery went 4-for-5 with 4 RBIs. Christian Schmidt and Nathan Goodsell each hit home runs and had three hits in the decisive victory.
Monday against Red Bud, Waterloo received another stellar effort on the mound from Nunnery (5 shutout innings, 9 strikeouts), as the ‘Dogs demolished Red Bud at their place, 10-0.
Reid Hoffman was the offensive star for Waterloo, going 4-for-4 with a home run and 6 RBIs.
“There are signs of our offense coming around, and that’s always nice,” Vogel said.
The coach said his team’s schedule “really picks up” over
the next couple of weeks, with a Wednesday game against Althoff and opponents such as Murphysboro and CBC looming.
“We’ll learn a lot about ourselves with some of these upcoming games,” he said.
The Hawks only played one game last week, defeating Yorkville 9-3. Yorkville, a southwestern Chicago suburb, was returning from a spring trip to Kentucky and Gibault agreed to play them last Wednesday.
Yorkville threw lefty Kyle Shimp, an Iowa recruit, and Gibault got to him in the first inning.
Mitch Meyer was hit by the first pitch, and two batters later, Jordan McFarland hit a first pitch fastball for a home run.
Wes Degener hit an RBI single in the third to drive in Meyer. The Hawks scored 5 more in the fifth, led by a solo home run by Meyer and doubles by Degener and McFarland.
Jacob Bircher ended Gibault’s scoring for the day with an RBI double in the sixth, driving in Kyle Hannon.
“Zach Neff was very sharp on the mound, allowing only 2 hits and striking out 11,” Gibault head coach Andy Skaer said.
Neff took a no-hitter into the sixth inning.
Gibault (4-1) played Chester yesterday and will play Belleville West today before a Friday contest at GCS Ballpark against Columbia.
Last Wednesday, the Eagles traveled to Roxana and came home with a 7-4 victory. Cole Foster and Zach Mathews each had two hits, with Foster and Jacob Hill picking up 2 RBIs each.
Josh Fleming was the winning pitcher, and Brett Luther picked up the save.
Thursday, Columbia traveled to Althoff and came home with a 14-4 loss. It was a close game — the Eagles were leading 4-3 into the third inning — but many walks and hit batters led to the defeat.
“Our pitchers need to do a better job of throwing strikes and we need to make some adjustments at the plate,” Columbia head coach Keith Jany said.
Cameron Touchette, Quinten Spivey, Camren Shewfelt and Zach Mathews all collected hits at the plate. Brendan Wilhelm suffered the loss on the mound.
On Saturday, the Eagles traveled to Greenville to take on Teutopolis and Greenville in a doubleheader. Against Teutopolis, Columbia gave up 6 runs in the fifth inning as Teutopolis broke open the game and won 11-1.
Fleming took the loss on the mound. Touchette, Spivey and Wilhelm all collected hits for the Eagles.
The Eagles bounced back against Greenville. It took eight innings, but Spivey knocked in Luther for the winning run, making the final score 5-4.
Spivey and Luther each had 3 hits for the game, as did Touchette. Brian Dougherty had 2 RBIs.
Jacob Hill got the win on the mound after relieving Mathews, who had a “very good start,” according to Jany.
On Monday, Columbia (4-3) beat Wood River 14-1 in five innings. Nathan Schnaak threw a complete game on the hill and Spivey, Mathews and Hill collected two hits apiece.
The Pirates (2-6) lost a tough one last Wednesday to Okawville, 5-4, after leading 4-0 through six innings. Valmeyer head coach Greg Reinhardt said Dakota Maus pitched well in a losing effort, going the distance with 7 strikeouts.
Zach Williams went 2-for-3 at the plate with a home run.
Thursday, Freeburg drilled Valmeyer, 23-0.
Monday, the Pirates lost a close game to Sparta, 3-2.
Maus went 1-for-2 with a stolen base and run scored. Nappier had a two-RBI single.
Ryan Unterseh pitched four scoreless innings in relief to keep the team close, striking out 4.
Dupo beat Brussels and Cahokia in recent action, but lost a tough one to Granite City.
The Tigers received five strong innings from Brett Aldridge on the mound and collected 12 hits on offense in the 11-1 win over Brussels on Thursday.
Friday, Dupo lost 9-5 to Granite City after being up 6-5 in the top of the seventh.
“They scored four in the top and we went down in order,” Dupo head coach Brad Daubach said. “We played a good game against them.”
The Tigers bounced back to blast Cahokia, 10-1, on Monday.
Dupo beat Cahokia behind five innings of strong pitching from Corey Biggs and 10 hits on offense.
“Our pitchers had no walks and no errors defensively for our fielders”, Daubach said.
Dupo (3-2) is set to host Freeburg on Wednesday.