By Anthony Jones
On August 7, Triad and Collinsville faced off on the baseball diamond in Sauget, Illinois at the home of the Gateway Grizzlies. The game featured over twenty recent local high school graduates as well as several players in high school.
Triad started the game off at the plate and wasted no time As their leadoff hitter, Drew Straub, hit an inside-the-park homerun to put them up 1-0. After the next batter struck out, Triad drew a walk and then took third base after a pair of passed balls. Caleb Goforth then came to the plate and hit a single to drive the runner in for a 2-0 lead. Collinsville produced two more strikeouts to end the top of the first.
Recent high school graduate Chris Bridges started the evening on the mound for Triad. He came in strong and struck out the first three batters he faced to quickly end the first inning.
Sam Wheeler kept Triad’s momentum rolling with a leadoff single in the second inning. He followed this up by stealing both second and third base on passed balls. David Karban drew a walk to keep the pressure on Collinsville’s defense. Triad’s lead expanded to 3-0 after John Rea hit a single to drive in Wheeler from third base.
Straub delivered another big hit for Triad in the next at bat, in the form of a double to extend the early lead to 5-0. Collinsville earned their first out of the inning on a sacrifice fly from Nolen McGowen, but the play drove in another run for Triad. The next two runners both reached base and an overthrown ball to first base advanced them to third and home to give Triad a commanding 7-0 lead. A slew of missteps followed including a HBP, passed balls, and errors saw the lead grow to 9-0 before the top of the second finally ended with a pair of strikeouts.
Collinsville started the inning strong with a deep fly ball to right that was caught and then drawing a walk. The runner then stole second and took third on a passed ball to give the team their first runner in scoring position of the night. Unfortunately for them, the runner could not be driven in before Triad’s defense closed out the inning.
The third inning started off slow for Triad with a strikeout and a runner reaching on error. But then Straub and McGowen both drew walks to load the bases with only one out. Wade took advantage of this situation and hit a sacrifice fly to right field to make the score 10-0 in Triad’s favor. Triad did manage to load the bases again with another single, but Collinsville escaped before any more damage could be done.
In the bottom of the third inning, Jacob Campbell took to the mound for Triad. He struck out the first two batters he faced, but then surrendered a walk. This was followed by a single, but Campbell struck out the next batter to end the inning and keep the shutout intact.
Collinsville’s defense finally seemed to find their stride in the top of the fourth inning. The inning started off with a hard hit grounder, but the pitcher made an athletic play to snag the ball and throw the runner out at first. Their momentum kept rolling as they struck out the next two batters.
After a walk, strikeout, and HBP to start the bottom of the fourth, Collinsville was in position to do some damage on offense. They managed to finally end the shutout with a ground rule double that sent Spencer Vlasak trotting into home plate. A sacrifice fly to center drew the game closer to 10-2 before Triad ended the inning by producing a strikeout.
Brayden Proffitt kickstarted Triad’s offense in the top of the fourth inning with a leadoff single and stealing off second on a passed ball. Another passed ball sent him to third while a HBP put Straub on first base. Both runners advanced after yet another passed ball that extended the lead to 11-2.
McGowen drew a walk as yet another wild pitch was thrown that allowed Straub to take third. Triad returned to a ten run lead at 12-2 after another wild pitch. A hard hit double from Wade grew the lead to 13-2. The final run of the half inning was scored off a Jack Oller single to put Triad up 14-2.
The rest of the game was a defensive affair as neither team tallied anymore runs. This left Triad with a 14-2 victory after what was a very lengthy seven inning contest.
Collinsville’s roster for the night featured ten seniors which were Paul Falbe, Camden Frey, Jake Holten, Logan Jackson, Brant Moad, Brady O’Neil, Cardon Richardson, Brady Schiller, Rece Vincent, and Spencer Vlasak.
On the Triad side, their seniors featured Joe Wade, Nolen McGowen, Jordan Lewis, Jack Oller, David Karban, Christopher Bridges, Jacob Campbell, Jack Beyersdorfer, Peyton Massie, Caleb Goforth, Sam Wheeler, Tyler Robards, and Seth Manso.