July 14, 2024 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

SJO baseball ups win streak to 13 games and Haley nets 400th career victory

The path to 20 wins each season can take high school baseball teams on a different path.

Maybe the majority of the wins happen early. Maybe a vast number happen late in the schedule.

For St. Joseph-Ogden High School, one major theme has emerged in the last decade-plus: the wins just happen.

SJO is on the cusp of another 20-win season — which would mark the 11th straight season the Spartans have achieved this milestone — heading into Wednesday’s home nonconference game against Westville. SJO carries a 13-game win streak into Wednesday’s 4:30 p.m. first pitch against the Tigers. The Spartans sit at 19-4 overall and 7-0 in Illini Prairie Conference games.

Here’s a roundup of the last two weeks for the Spartans, which included coach Josh Haley picking up his 400th career victory:

Spartans top Hilltoppers on road
SJO traveled to Mt. Pulaski on Monday afternoon for a road nonconference game and came home with a 9-6 win against the Hilltoppers.

SJO jumped out to an 8-0 lead after four innings, punctuated by a six-run outburst in the top of the fourth, and then held off Mt. Pulaski after the Hilltoppers trimmed the Spartans’ lead to 8-6 after six innings.

Senior Adam Price went 1 for 4 with a double and two RBI for the Spartans, while senior Taylor Voorhees was 1 for 4 with a double and an RBI. Sophomore Jared Altenbaumer showed a patient eye at the plate, drawing four walks and scoring two runs, while junior Garrett Denhart also scored two runs.

Senior Connor Hale picked up the win, making the start on the mound and throwing 4 1/3 innings. He gave up five runs on six hits, while striking out seven and walking four.
Junior Caleb Ochs tossed the final 2 2/3 innings, giving up one run on three hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out three.

Spartans sweep Grey Ghosts on the road
SJO won both games of a road doubleheader against Chillicothe IVC on Saturday, with the Spartans winning 8-3 in the first game and winning 4-0 in the second game.
The second game of the doubleheader was a nonconference game and didn’t count towards the Illini Prairie standings.

SJO scored all eight of its runs in the first game in the top of the second inning to grab an 8-0 lead and not let IVC get back in the game.

Sophomore Coy Taylor was 3 for 3 with a double and an RBI, while junior Luke Landaus was 2 for 3 with a double and two RBI.

Sophomore Nolan Earley also came up big at the plate, going 2 for 4 with two doubles and two RBI. Altenbaumer (1 for 4, RBI), Voorhees (1 for 3) and junior Tanner Jacob (1 for 3) also chipped in.

Sophomore Kendrick Johnson recorded the win, throwing six quality innings. The right-hander gave up all three runs on eight hits, striking out five and walking one. Taylor threw one scoreless inning of relief.

Senior Jack Robertson thrived on the mound in the second game, throwing a two-hit shutout. He struck out 11 and did not walk a batter, with 66 of his 95 pitches going for strikes.

Price led the offense, going 2 for 4 with two RBI, while junior Braxton Waller drove in a run. Taylor (2 for 3, two runs scored), Landaus (1 for 4) and Earley (1 for 4) also contributed.

SJO rallies past Pontiac
Trailing 2-0 at Pontiac last Thursday on a day where rain was prevalent, the Spartans picked the right time to come from behind an earn a 4-3 win in Illini Prairie action.
SJO tied the game at 2 in the top of the third and went ahead 4-2 in the top of the fourth. Pontiac answered with a run in the bottom of the fifth, but SJO held the lead the rest of the way in a game that only lasted six innings because of the weather.

Earley and Landaus combined to hold Pontiac to three hits. Earley got the win, throwing 4 1/3 innings and giving up three runs on two hits. He walked four and struck out three. Landaus threw 1 2/3 innings of relief, overcoming three walks. He allowed one hit and struck out two.

Waller, Voorhees and Price paced the SJO offense. Waller was 2 for 3 with two RBI, Voorhees was 2 for 2 with one RBI and two runs scored and Price was 2 for 3. Senior Maddux Carter (1 for 3, RBI), Taylor (1 for 2) and Landaus (1 for 4) all had timely hits.

Spartans shut out Oakwood, Haley wins 400th
An early lead by the host Spartans helped deliver a milestone win for their coach on April 18, with SJO defeating Oakwood 10-0 at Meier Field in St. Joseph.
The six-inning victory gave coach Josh Haley his 400th career win. Haley, who coached at Hoopeston Area before arriving at SJO prior to the 2012 season, has gone 311-75 in his tenure with the Spartans.

SJO rattled off 11 hits against Oakwood, with Waller (2 for 4, double, three RBI), Voorhees (2 for 2, two runs scored) and Earley (2 for 4, RBI) contributing significantly. Robertson and Price also drove in a run apiece.

The 3-0 lead SJO staked itself to after the first inning was all the offense Hale needed. The right-hander threw a six-inning shutout, limiting the Comets to only two hits. He struck out 10 and only walked one.

Jacob, Price spark win against Prairie Central
SJO once again used a prolific offense to defeat Prairie Central 14-4 in five innings at Meier Field on April 17.

The Illini Prairie win saw SJO, which only led 6-4 after four innings, score eight runs in the bottom of the fifth to end the game early.

Jacob and Price were the catalysts. Jacob went 3 for 3 with a double, three RBI and two runs scored, while Price was 3 for 4 with a double, three RBI and two runs scored.
Landrus (2 for 4, RBI), Carter (1 for 2, RBI), Voorhees (1 for 2, RBI, two runs scored), Waller (two RBI), Early (two runs scored) and Altenbaumer (two runs scored) also chipped in.

Ochs threw three innings and recorded the win, giving up four runs (three earned) on seven hits. He walked one and did not record a strikeout. Johnson pitched the final two innings, not allowing a run and only one hit. He struck out two and did not issue a walk.

Landrus shines in win against Normal U-High
The Spartans cruised past Normal U-High 17-7 for a five-inning nonconference win at Meier Field on April 14.

Landrus was a big reason why, with SJO’s leadoff hitter going 3 for 3 with a double, a home run and five RBI. He walked in his other plate appearance and scored three runs.
The Spartans led 11-2 after two innings and closed out the win by plating three runs apiece in the fourth and fifth innings.

Voorhees also had a superb game, going 3 for 4 with a double, four RBI and two runs scored. Waller (2 for 3, two RBI, double), Earley (1 for 4, triple, two RBI), Jacob (2 for 3, RBI, two runs scored), Altenbaumer (two runs scored) and Hale (two runs scored) were also key in the strong offensive game.

Price tossed four innings to secure the win, giving up six runs on 10 hits. He walked three and struck out two. Ochs allowed an unearned run in his lone inning of relief, striking out one.

Johnson, Earley combine on no-hitter at PBL
A scoreless Illini Prairie game through three innings on April 13 in Paxton turned in favor of visiting SJO after that point.

The Spartans took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning, then added four more runs in the sixth before delivering eight runs in the seventh to close out a 14-0 road victory.
As impressive as the offense was in collecting 19 hits, the duo of Johnson and Earley on the mound was unhittable. Johnson threw four innings and Earley threw three innings, combining on a no-hitter. Johnson struck out two and walked two, while Early struck out three and walked two.

Jacob (2 for 4, three RBI) and Waller (3 for 4, double, two RBI) led the offense, with Landrus (2 for 6, two RBI, four stolen bases), Carter (2 for 4, RBI), Price (3 for 5), Hale (2 for 2, RBI, three runs scored) and Ochs (2 for 2, two RBI, double) all had vital roles, too, in the win.

Earley, Voorhees hit home runs in win at Villa Grove
The Spartans scored at least one run in every inning, rolling to a 15-0 nonconference win in four innings at Villa Grove on April 12.

SJO, which led 10-0 after two innings, received home runs from Earley and Voorhees. Voorhees finished 2 for 2 with three RBI and two runs score, while Earley was 1 for 2 with three RBI.

Price finished 3 for 3 with two RBI and three runs scored, while Altenbaumer was 2 for 2 with a double and an RBI.

Waller (2 for 3, RBI), Hale (1 for 2, RBI), Robertson (1 for 1, RBI) and Carter (1 for 4, RBI, two runs scored) also drove in runs for SJO.

Landaus earned the win on the mound, going three innings. He only allowed one hit, striking out five and walking one. Robertson threw a scoreless inning of relief, striking out one and walking two.

What’s next
Wednesday’s game with Westville kicks off a three-game homestead in the next three days for SJO. The Spartans are scheduled to host Charleston at 4:30 p.m. Thursday and Maroa-Forsyth at 4:30 p.m. on Friday. SJO hops back into Illini Prairie play next week, with a 4:30 p.m. game next Monday at Monticello.

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