Every year Josh Haley has coached the St. Joseph-Ogden High School baseball team, the Spartans have won at least 20 games.
The 2019 season is no exception for the eighth-year coach and his program.
The Spartans hit that mark with an 11-7 win in eight innings at Danville on Monday and followed that up with a 7-3 home win on Wednesday against Monticello in Illini Prairie Conference play.
SJO (21-8-2, 7-2 Illini Prairie) was slated to play at Mattoon on Thursday, but the nonconference game was rained out.
The arm of Adam Rose and the bat of Drew Coursey helped guide SJO to a win against Monticello. Rose threw six shutout innings to pick up the win, only allowing four hits and striking out seven.
Coursey went 3 for 3 with an RBI, while Crayton Burnett (2 for 3, RBI), Adam Frerichs (1 for 2, two RBI), Kaden Jacobs (1 for 3, RBI) and Rose (1 for 3, RBI) also produced at the plate.
Rose helped SJO to an early 1-0 lead, singling to lead off the bottom of the first and then stealing second base with one out. That allowed Burnett’s single to left field to score Rose and put SJO out in front 1-0.
SJO didn’t wait long in the second inning to pad its lead. Nick Boggs walked to lead off the frame before Coursey singled and Brayden Weaver was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. With one out, Rose delivered an RBI groundout before Frerichs cleared the bases with a two-run single to increase SJO’s lead to 4-0.
SJO loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth with Rose drawing a walk, Frerichs getting hit by a pitch and Burnett producing a single. After Sam Wesley flew out to
SJO overcame an early deficit at Danville and some key hits late to push past the Vikings. Jaden Miller (2 for 2, RBI), Zach Martinie (1 for 2, two RBI) and Burnett (2 for 4, RBI) led the offensive output for SJO, while Joe Acton picked up the win in relief.
Trailing 5-0 after two innings, SJO got on the scoreboard in the top of the third when Burnett singled in Frerichs and Wesley’s ground ball resulted in a Danville error to score Frerichs and trim SJO’s deficit to 5-2. A two-run, two-out single by Martinie cut Danville’s lead to 5-4 and another Danville error brought home Weaver to tie the game at 5. Danville took a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the fourth and held onto that until the top of the sixth.
Burnett singled to lead off the inning and advanced to second after a walk to Wesley. Aggressive base running by the Spartans allowed them to tie it up at 6 after Wesley scored on a fielder’s choice hit by Boggs.
After a single by Miller, courtesy runner Mason McLain came around to score on an error by Danville to put SJO ahead 7-6.
The Spartans, however, committed two errors and yielded two walks in the bottom of the seventh to allow Danville to tie the game at 7.
But SJO didn’t permit any more runs, setting up a four-inning output in the top of the eighth that sealed the win.
Jacobs led off the inning with a double and Boggs reached on a Danville error. Miller made the Vikings pay for their miscue with an RBI single to left that scored Jacobs to give SJO an 8-7 lead. A walk to Coursey loaded the bases and Weaver hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring Boggs to put SJO up 9-7. Miller scored on a wild pitch to make it 10-7 and then Rose’s RBI groundout scored Coursey, giving SJO an 11-7 lead. SJO didn’t make it easy on itself in the bottom of the eighth, with Danville loading the bases with two outs and Burnett on in relief. But Burnett escaped the jam as Danville grounded into a fielder’s choice, ending the game in favor of the Spartans.
SJO is slated to host Salt Fork at 11 a.m. on Saturday before closing out the regular season at home against Tri-Valley at 4:30 p.m. on Monday. The Spartans then open the postseason at 4:30 p.m. next Wednesday against Villa Grove/Heritage in a Class 2A Unity Regional semifinal game in Tolono.
You must be logged in to post a comment.