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By Mark Jurgena
Five pitches, two hitters, one run.
That’s how the spring 2023 baseball season began for the Collinsville Kahoks.
Kris Alcorn and Darren Pennell both had a pair of hits and an RBI while the pitching staff allowed three hits as the Kahoks beat Salem 6-0 at GCS Credit Union Ballpark in Sauget on March 15.
“It’s always good to get the first win of the season under your belt,” said CHS coach Brett Swip. “You could tell the guys were ready to get outside and shake off some of the winter rust. The energy was great. Junior Bryce Lemp was consistent and solid on the mound. Junior Kris Alcorn got us started offensively with an opposite-field double. And then we had great senior leadership. Good team win.”
After Lemp held the Wildcats scoreless in the top of the first, he didn’t waste time working on their first run.
Lemp drew a four-pitch walk to start the season. On the next pitch from Salem ace Gavin Zimmerman, Alcorn smacked a line drive double to left to put CHS on top.
With two outs and Alcorn on third, Kolby Anderson singled to left to make it 2-0.
Following a shutdown inning, CHS got right back to scoring.
With one out, Darren Pennell singled on a bunt to third and advanced to second on an errant throw. Lemp followed with a hit-by-pitch and Alcorn walked to load the bases.
Pennell scored on a wild pitch just before Bovinett lifted a sacrifice fly to center for a 4-0 lead after two innings.
Meanwhile, the Salem offense just could not get things going.
“(He was) really good,” said Salem coach Brian Lipe about Alcorn. “We really struggled to make solid contact all day. I felt like we threw it pretty well but struggled defensively. Collinsville was solid.”
Lemp went 3.2 innings on the day, scattering two hits, striking out three, and walking four. Cole McClusky finished the fourth and tacked on two more innings of work giving up only a walk. Finally, Curtis Schaaf worked one inning, gave up one hit, and struck out three.
Salem got three hits on the day off the bats of Noah Nix, Eli Rose, and Drew Davis.
In addition to the multiple hit games by Alcorn and Pennell, Bovinett, Anderson, Ethan Jones and Luke Weller all had singles.
Champaign (Central) 7 CHS 2
Central was the beneficiary of 11 walks and two errors and parlayed that into a 7-2 win on March 16 in Troy on the turf field of Triad High School.
The game took the place of the originally scheduled game that day against Oswego.
Collinsville fell behind 2-0 in the first and the Maroons tacked on one in the next inning to make it a 3-0 game.
The Central Illinois school added a four-run fifth to their total to take a 7-0 lead before the Kahoks got on the scoreboard thanks to Luke Weller’s two-run double to left in the bottom of the sixth. His shot scored Bovinett and Caden Pruitt.
CHS got two more hits from Alcorn – including a triple – while Bovinett, Pruitt, Weller, Schaaf and Ethan Bagwell hit safely.
Bovinett added a double.
Alcorn took the loss for Collinsville with Blaine Martinez and Ryan Kremer seeing innings on the mound.
Oswego 11 CHS 1 (5 innings)
On March 17 at Blazier Field in O’Fallon, Oswego made it down from Chicagoland and took down the Kahoks via the mercy rule.
All three of Collinsville’s hits were doubles thanks to the bats of Alcorn, Bovinett, and Schaaf. The teams combined for eight extra base hits for the game.
The Kahoks only run came off a double to center by Schaaf in the top of the fourth to score Jones.
Mason Hartmann, Pruitt, Jace Madura, and Schaaf saw time on the hill for CHS.
Collinsville squared off with Triad in Troy yesterday however results were unavailable at press time. Saturday they face Belleville Althoff at Whitey Herzog Field in Belleville.
Wednesday they play Granite City in their home opener.