The past week featured a bit of everything for the St. Joseph-Ogden High School baseball team.
Solid pitching. Timely hitting. Aggressive baserunning.
Long road trips. Tough defeats. Impressive wins.
The Spartans carry a 15-6-2 record, including a 5-1 mark in Illini Prairie Conference play, into Tuesday’s 4:30 p.m. nonconference game at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley.
SJO went 3-2 last week, splitting a doubleheader at Chillicothe Illinois Valley Central this past Saturday in which the Spartans defeated the Grey Ghosts 2-1 in the opener that counted as a conference game before falling 8-6 in the second game that counted as a nonconference game.
The trip to Chillicothe came after the Spartans won 13-12 at Pontiac last Wednesday in league play, along with a 2-0 home win against nonconference foe Urbana last Tuesday and a 6-0 home loss to league rival Unity last Monday.
The conference win against Chillicothe IVC featured stout pitching from Adam Rose and Zach Martini. Rose started and threw five innings giving up three hits and one unearned run while striking out seven and walking three. Martini picked up the win in relief, throwing two hitless innings, striking out two and walking one.
SJO only managed three hits, with Kaden Jacobs leading the way by going 2 for 3 with an RBI. Sam Wesley (1 for 2) accounted for the other hit and scored a run, while Adam Frerichs walked twice and scored a run.
SJO took a 1-0 lead after the top of the first. Frerichs walked with one out and stole second base with two outs. Wesley then reached on an infield single and Frerichs scored on a subsequent error by the Grey Ghosts to give the Spartans an early advantage. Chillicothe IVC tied the game at 1 in the bottom of the second inning and the game remained that way until the top of the seventh.
With one out, Wesley walked on four pitches and after stealing second base, Jacobs drilled a double to center field to plate Wesley and give SJO a 2-1 lead. Martini then retired the Grey Ghosts in order on three groundouts to seal the win.
SJO trailed 8-3 after five innings against Chillicothe IVC in the second game before scoring three runs in the sixth to make it closer.
Wesley (2 for 3, two RBI), Rose (2 for 3, RBI) and Crayton Burnett (2 for 3, RBI) each had multiple hits for SJO, while Nick Boggs (1 for 4, RBI) and Blake Primmer (1 for 3, two runs scored) and Frerichs (two runs scored) also contributed.
Joe Acton started on the mound for SJO, lasting three innings and giving up four hits, three runs (two earned). He struck out two and walked two. Drew Coursey went two innings in relief, but was tagged for five runs on five hits to go along with two strikeouts and a walk.
Boggs gave SJO an early 1-0 lead with his RBI single in the first before Chillicothe IVC went ahead 2-1 in its half of the first.
An RBI single by Rose tied the game at 2 in the second and SJO went ahead 3-2 when Primmer scored after the Spartans hit into a double play. The Grey Ghosts tied the game at 3 in the third before scoring three runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth to take an 8-3 lead.
The Spartans loaded the bases with one out in the sixth and cut their deficit to 8-4 on a sacrifice fly by Burnett and a two-run single by Wesley made it 8-6 before SJO’s rally ended in the sixth and the Spartans were retired in order in the seventh.
Prior to their trip to Chillicothe, the Spartans held on for a wild win in Pontiac last Wednesday.
SJO led 6-0 after the top of the first and then added single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to take a 9-6 lead into the sixth. Two more runs in each the sixth and the seventh allowed the Spartans to leave with a win despite late rallies by Pontiac.
Rose led SJO by going 4 for 4 with two RBI and two runs scored and reaching base in all six of his plate appearances. Coursey added three RBI and Wesley contributed two RBI, while Brayden Weaver and Primmer each had two hits.
To start the game, SJO loaded the bases with no outs after Rose walked and then Frerichs and Burnett were each hit by a pitch. Wesley delivered a sacrifice fly that made it 1-0 and SJO loaded the bases again on a single by Jacobs. Boggs was hit by a pitch to make it 2-0 and then Coursey came through with a two-run single to increase SJO’s lead to 4-0. Run-scoring singles by Weaver and Rose gave SJO a 6-0 lead before Pontiac even stepped into the batter’s box.
Weaver sparked the Spartans in the third inning with a one-out single and he came around to score on a wild pitch that upped SJO’s lead to 7-4. A sacrifice fly by Coursey in the fourth and an RBI groundout by Wesley in the fifth increased SJO’s lead to 9-5. SJO added two insurance runs in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Keegan McCarty and Acton scoring on a wild pitch to lead 11-6.
Holding on to a precarious 11-10 lead entering the seventh, Rose drilled an RBI single and Primmer followed suit with another run-scoring single to give SJO a 13-10 lead.
The Spartans would need all of those runs when Pontiac scored twice in the bottom of the seventh before Martini shut the door on the Indians.
McCarty registered the win on the mound, throwing 4 2/3 innings and giving up seven hits and six runs (four earned). McCarty struck out eight and allowed three walks. Martini picked up the save, going 2 1/3 innings and yielding four hits and six runs (two earned) while striking out one and walking three.
Burnett powered SJO to its win against Urbana. The right-hander threw a shutout, only giving up two
SJO fell behind early in its eventual loss to Unity, trailing 4-0 after the first inning and never recovering against the Rockets. Burnett had the only hit for SJO with a first-inning single.
Rose was tagged with the loss, going four innings and giving up six hits and six runs (three earned) while striking out six.
After Tuesday’s game at GCMS, the Spartans return to Illini Prairie play at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday at St. Thomas More before hosting Charleston at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday and Maroa-Forsyth at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.